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Esko (company)

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Esko (company)

Type Private
Industry Graphic arts
Founded Ghent, Belgium (2002)
Headquarters Ghent, Belgium
Key people Carsten Knudsen, CEO[1]
Employees 1200 (2012)

Esko, formerly called EskoArtwork, is a graphic arts company producing prepress soft- and hardware and offering a portfolio of application support and consultancy services. It primarily specialises in solutions for packaging design and pre-press, but it also produces pre-press workflow software for general commercial use.

Enfocus, a brand of PDF pre-flighting and workflow software originally acquired by Artwork Systems in 2000, is now a subsidiary of the combined EskoArtwork company.[2]


Esko was the result of a merger between Barco Graphics and Purup Eskofot in 2002. The merged company was called Esko-Graphics but was renamed Esko in 2006. In August 2007 Esko announced that it was 'combining operations' with Artwork Systems Group NV (AWS), its chief competitor in the packaging pre-press market. Esko initially bought 76.69% of AWS shares for €196 million.[3]

Reflecting the merger, Esko changed its name to EskoArtwork. It also introduced a new logo, though it is visually very close to the Esko original.

Since the fall of 2005, Esko has been fully owned by Axcel A/S, a Danish private equity investment company.[4]

In January 2011, 100% of EskoArtwork shares have been transferred to Danaher.[5] In January 2012, the name changed back to Esko, the logo was also updated.

Esko is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium, and has R&D and manufacturing facilities in five European countries, the United States, China and India.[6] Esko's global sales and support organization covers Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific and is completed by a network of distribution partners in more than 40 countries.


Starting off as a software and hardware vendor, Esko established itself as a collaborative software provider and systems integrator to all participants in the packaging and labeling supply chain. Esko's portfolio includes:

Esko Suite 12. This is a comprehensive suite of software covering the entire packaging, print and Sign & Display supply chain. Esko Suite 12 consists of:

  • For structural design: ArtiosCAD and Studio
  • For prepress: ArtPro, PackEdge, DeskPack and Neo
  • For dynamic content: Dynamic content engine and Dynamic Content plug-in for Adobe Illustrator
  • For sheet layout: Plato, PowerLayout and FastImpose
  • For workflow Automation: Automation Engine and WebCenter
  • For color management: Color Engine
  • For imaging and output: Imaging Engine, screening, FlexProof and the Digital Flexo Suite
  • For the Sign & Display and large format printing market: the i-cut Suite

CDI flexo Computer-to-Plate systems. CDI stands for Cyrel Digital Imager, referring to a joint marketing arrangement with DuPont, maker of Cyrel photopolymer flexo plates. However the CDI systems can work with any brand of photopolymer plate provided it has an integral black mask layer to absorb laser energy.

Kongsberg computer-controlled cutting & creasing tables for short-run production and sample making in packaging, signage and display markets. Esko owns the manufacturer, which is based in the town of Kongsberg in Norway.

Enfocus was a subsidiary of Artwork Systems and is now a strategic business unit within Esko. It specialises in PDF productivity and automation tools. Main products are:

  • PitStop Professional, the core product for PDF preflight, auto-correction and manual editing. This runs as a plug-in to Adobe Acrobat.
  • PitStop Extreme, a standalone alternative to PitStop Professional that does not need Adobe Acrobat to run.
  • Instant PDF to guide the creation (including verification) of PDFs for professional publishing.
  • PitStop Server, a hot-folder based version of PitStop Professional.
  • Switch, a family of products designed to automate workflows.
  • Certified PDF is a core technology supported by all Enfocus products, that can embed a range of metadata into a PDF file, such as creator, modification/editing history, pre-flight history and criteria, and optionally, a sequence of Undo states. Enfocus products can create, read and update certificates as a PDF is passed through a production sequence. Many workflows systems for professional publishing can also read and update Certified PDF metadata.


Esko is active in the graphic arts industry, and offers solutions for structural CAD, desktop design, converting, sign making, commercial printing.


External links

  • Esko corporate homepage
  • Esko Users Group International homepage
  • Announcement of Esko and Artwork Systems merger
  • Artwork Systems homepage
  • Enfocus homepage
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