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Exciting times as prepress providers point the way

By the time this issue reaches you, the print industry extravaganza that is Drupa will be well under way. That means we’re nearly half-way through a year in which, for many, the sole objective is to make it through to the next one again. Yet there is plenty of activity across the industry – and plenty of launches, initiatives and new partnerships being trailed at the May 3-16 Düsseldorf show.

Durst has revealed its new Tau 330 digital UV Inkjet Label Press; the latest version of Sistrade Print was on show, including augmented reality tools; HP demonstrated a new portfolio of digital printing and workflow solutions which, the company says, will help print service providers “achieve profitable growth”.

And DuPont was busy highlighting new flexo printing plates and hosting “flexo tours” to demonstrate, on other exhibitors’ stands, how its Cyrel workflow systems can help packaging manufacturers achieve branding consistency.

Interestingly, from a competitive viewpoint, DuPont was positioned in the booth next-door to Esko. It’s only a couple of months ago that one UK executive of the Belgium-based workflow software provider was talking about his market-leading company’s plans to “challenge the Pantone benchmark” with its own developments. My eyebrows were raised a little, therefore, when in early March the company announced it was instead, it seemed to me at the time, throwing in its lot with X-Rite in the new Pantone-LIVE cloud-based, prepress and colour management system – a partnership that would undoubtedly create a considerable global force in the sector.

The pieces fell into place in April, then, when the news emerged that Esko’s parent company in the US, Danaher, is acquiring the X-Rite/Pantone set-up in a US$625 million deal.

“The cloud-based colour service is set to transform the way print specialists interact with brand owners,” Esko software engines director Geert De Proost has told Packaging Today. De Proost adds that, combined, the companies’ systems will: “Deliver globally consistent colour standards, including corporate spot colours, that are essential to brand identity on a variety of substrates.”

Brand identity and consistency: they’re becoming the all-encompassing priority.

David Longfield,

Deputy Editor


David Longfield