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Esko has opened a brand-new facility in Itzehoe, Germany, to consolidate its flexo platemaking business under one roof, including research, engineering, product development, testing and production.

The facility features a customer experience center where customers and industry partners can immerse themselves in the technical and business details of flexography. The new center is set up to demonstrate and teach how Esko masters the entire flexo platemaking eco-system, from design and prepress, through color management, flexo plate preparation, imaging and exposure, right up to cutting plates ready for mounting on the printing press. The new customer experience center at the Itzehoe site means that Esko will be able to produce the highest quality plates for testing and benchmarks.

Assembly of flexo plate imaging devices CDI Crystal and CDI Spark, and of flexo plate exposure systems XPS Crystal, will take place in this new Itzehoe plant. The new facility was designed to meet the business and production needs of Esko’s digital flexo business.

"We have been extremely pleased with the entire process, from the laying of the first stone through to the move and start-up of production in this brand-new facility," said Holger Jacobsen, Esko’s plant manager. "Everyone – from the architect and builder to all of our suppliers and staff – worked together to achieve a challenging schedule. It’s a modern environment, a great workplace for our staff, and a welcoming setting where we will host many visitors in the future."

Esko’s president Udo Panenka sees a strong future for Esko’s flexo platemaking business and the Itzehoe plant, "Itzehoe will continue to be the epicenter of everything flexo-related, from development to service delivery. In recent years, the industry has continued to applaud innovations out of Itzehoe, such as the award winning XPS Crystal systems for UV exposure of flexo plates, which set a new standard of quality, consistency and productivity. Also, the recently introduced Print Control Wizard, a smart tool that makes it extremely easy to select the best screen set for each substrate and application, has been enthusiastically received by the market. And there is more to come."

He continued, "We are well positioned to tap into the significant opportunities to simplify and automate the entire flexo platemaking process, from design to the finished plate ready to be mounted on the press, and we are pursuing those on behalf of our customers and the industry at large. We are extremely pleased with this important milestone, and we are looking forward to a bright and innovative flexo future."