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Kongsberg Celebrates 50 Years

May 11, 2015  By PrintAction Staff

The Kongsberg project team in 1980.

Esko of Ghent, Belgium, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Esko Kongsberg, a manufacturer of digital finishing systems with many thousands of installations around the globe.

“Digital finishing is a vital part of Esko’s strategy, and Esko Kongsberg is key to our future success and that of our customers,” said Udo Panenka, President of Esko. “Fifty years of constant innovation have provided us with a strong reputation and foundation.”

In the early years, Kongsberg manufactured the first drafting tables used to produce test-parts and verify cutting programs for ship building. The portfolio then expanded to include equipment to engrave print clichés for map printing and then full-size designs for cars and trucks. In the 1980s, the traditional Kongsberg drafting tables were used in both the sign and packaging markets.


In the following years, the company changed owners through a series of acquisitions: first Artios, followed by Barco which transformed in what is today known as Esko. “Our future as a market leader was sealed by the acquisition of the company in 2002 by Esko. Not only could we provide total solutions, but we could also rely on the strength of a global sales force and service network to take us into new markets and seize new opportunities,” said Emil Skarra, Managing Director Norway at Esko.

In 2011, Esko – including its Kongsberg operation – was acquired by Danaher. Today, Esko Kongsberg serves three primary markets: packaging, displays and signage. “We aim to make production as easy, efficient and productive as possible for our customers – starting at the early stages of structural design, right up through the finished product,” said Tom Erik Naess, Esko’s Product Manager CAM.

The current Kongsberg product portfolio ranges from the XE-series of small format table featuring accuracy and speed, to the XN-series for more versatility and robustness and the XP-series for productivity. Last additions to the Kongsberg family are the V-Series of tables for entry-level sign and sample making, and C-series for (very) wide format productivity.

“We increasingly see our digital finishing equipment being used for true production of finished products instead of just prototyping or sample making,” said Panenka. “As a result, we are directing much of our research and development effort toward increasing productivity and industrialization with more automation, tighter linkage to software solutions, more industrial infrastructure, such as material handling, and integration with other machinery.”

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