Xerox Corporation and Electronics For Imaging (EFI) have announced a strategic partnership to bring to market a next-generation Digital Front End (DFE) to drive Xerox digital production presses. Specific details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the agreement includes the sale of Xerox’s FreeFlow Print Server (FFPS) DFE business to EFI. Under the terms of the deal, EFI will continue to produce and support FFPS, so current customers don’t experience interruptions in sales or service. “Customers will gain a powerful solution with more efficiencies, performance and quality to meet the most demanding production requirements,” said Andrew Copley, President of Graphic Communications Solutions at Xerox. “EFI is an industry leader and has a proven track record with performance, ease of use and seamless integration with industry workflow solutions.”
Xerox’s expertise and unique functionality from FFPS will be integrated with EFI’s best-of-breed Fiery product, giving customers “a market-leading offering. Customers will benefit from EFI sales and technical field resources working side-by-side with their Xerox sales reps to offer a best-in-class solution,” the companies added.
“This next step in our strategic alliance will give customers the industry’s highest performing DFE with unparalleled imaging and colour management,” said Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI. “EFI integration among the DFE, workflow software, and management information systems products deliver the higher levels of automation and productivity that are key to print businesses taking full advantage of the opportunities with digital printing.”
Xerox and EFI have a longstanding relationship. Most recently, Xerox collaborated with EFI to develop a new print server, the Xerox IJ Print Server powered by Fiery, to drive the Xerox Trivor 2400 Inkjet Press. The DFE handles a range of data streams while enabling integration, comprehensive colour management and seamless integration with customer workflows.
The next generation DFE coming from this partnership will be integrated with EFI’s market-leading Productivity Suites, which include management information systems such as PACE, PrintSmith Vision, Monarch and Radius ERP.
Additionally, the DFE will integrate with Xerox FreeFlow Core and XMPie workflows as well as industry-leading third-party prepress solutions such as Agfa Apogee, Heidelberg Prinect and Kodak Prinergy. The Fiery DFE, which is the industry’s only JDF-certified DFE, will also offer a modern API to allow customers to easily develop integration to any customized applications.
The agreement is for FFPS only and does not impact the Xerox workflow solutions that carry a FreeFlow sub-brand name (FreeFlow Core, FreeFlow VI Suite, FreeFlow Makeready and FreeFlow Digital Publisher). The workflow solutions will remain as independent key platforms for Xerox customers’ workflow strategy.
“This acquisition by EFI is beneficial to both parties. EFI gains important intellectual property as well as the flexibility to integrate it tightly with its own Fiery assets,” said Jim Hamilton, Group Director, InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence. “For Xerox, the move transfers the development and support of FFPS to an acknowledged market leader. The move strengthens an already strong relationship and opens up new possibilities for future offerings.”