History

1868 – 1904: The Early Years

1868 – 1904: The Early Years

In the age of the construction of the Suez Canal, the invention of the telephone and the building of the Eiffel tower, the companies Agfa and L. Gevaert & Cie too first see the light of day: the former in Germany, near Berlin, the latter in the city of Antwerp in Belgium.

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1905 – 1959: The Years of Expansion

1905 – 1959: The Years of Expansion

Both Agfa and Gevaert rapidly expand. Their capital has grown enormously and they establish branches all over the world. Many new products are introduced to meet the needs of different quickly modernizing industries, such as repro films and plates, X-ray materials and motion picture film with sound.

Read more

1960 – 1979: The Golden 60s and 70s

1960 – 1979: The Golden 60s and 70s

1964 is the year of the big merger between Agfa and Gevaert. In the following prosperous decade Agfa-Gevaert establishes itself as the leader of the standardization and automation of the graphic arts industry, while electronic techniques start making their way.

Read more

1980 – 1990: Expanding in prepress technology

1980 – 1990: Expanding in prepress technology

After Bayer has obtained 100% ownership of the Group at the beginning of the decade, Agfa-Gevaert starts producing anodized aluminum offset printing plates and expands its position in the field of printing and office systems through the acquisition of the American company Compugraphic.

Read more

1990 – 2000: From analogue to digital

1990 – 2000: From analogue to digital

Whereas in the first half of the decade more sophisticated filmsetters take over from the early phototypesetters, the second half of the decade is charaterized by the shift from analog to digital technologies. A number of acquisitions make Agfa the leader in the graphic prepress industry.

Read more

2001 - now: Prepress and printing in the third millennium

2001 - now: Prepress and printing in the third millennium

Agfa Graphics gains momentum at the turn of the third millennium. It acquires a number of companies, thus reinforcing its market and technology leadership in prepress. The company also opens a state-of-the-art factory in China, and enters the industrial inkjet printing market.

Read more


1868 – 1904: The Early Years

In the age of the construction of the Suez Canal, the invention of the telephone and the building of the Eiffel tower, the companies Agfa and L. Gevaert & Cie too first see the light of day: the former in Germany, near Berlin, the latter in the city of Antwerp in Belgium.

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On the 28th of May 1868, Lieven Gevaert is born. He will build the Gevaert Company from scratch to a company of world fame. In 1873 Agfa, the Aktien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation, is founded in Germany.

In 1890, Lieven Gevaert establishes a workshop, specialized in the production of calcium paper. Four years later, he and Armand Seghers establish L. Gevaert & Cie with a starting capital of 20,000 BEF. After only one year, the company opens its first subsidiary abroad, in Paris, after the takeover of the company Blue Star Papers.

In 1897, Agfa is registered as a trading name. The company produces photographic chemicals. In 1901, L. Gevaert & Cie starts producing the famous glossy photographic paper, and another two years later, L. Gevaert & Cie fabricates the first motion picture film.

In 1904, the factory moves from Antwerp to Mortsel. The employees get a share of the company's profits, establishing Gevaert as one of the pioneers of employee participation. The year after, the first Belgian Health Service is founded in the company of Gevaert.


1905 – 1959: The Years of Expansion

Both Agfa and Gevaert rapidly expand. Their capital has grown enormously and they establish branches all over the world. Many new products are introduced to meet the needs of different quickly modernizing industries, such as repro films and plates, X-ray materials and motion picture film with sound.

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Internationalization

In 1909, the capital reaches one million BEF. Gevaert invests in research for the production of plates and roll films. During World War I, a number of German chemical companies, including Agfa and Bayer, establish 'a community of interest'. After the War, Gevaert expands and modernizes. At that moment, it already has branches in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London, Moscow, Barcelona, Rome, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Copenhagen.

A new name: 'Gevaert Photo Producten N.V.'

The success of Gevaert cannot be stopped. In 1920, the group is renamed 'Gevaert Photo Producten N.V.'. While the starting capital in the early years of Gevaert was still moderate, it has now grown to 15 million Belgian francs (375,000 Euro). New products include the Agfa repro films and plates and the collotype film. In 1929, Gevaert Photoproducten starts producing X-ray materials and motion picture film with sound.

From art to industry

In 1932, Gevaert already has ten different ortho- and panchromatic contone plates for gravure, linework and halftone work. A year later, it develops pigment paper for gravure and Litholine ortho film for halftone and linework.

In 1935, Lieven Gevaert dies.

In 1936, Gevaert Photoproducten starts making blind 'contrast' contone films. At that time, the company also introduces triacetate film, the first safety ground layer that also has the features of the very flammable nitro celluloid ground layer. In 1939, the DTR technology is simultaneously discovered in Agfa's and Gevaert's R&D labs. In 1949, Gevaert starts producing color film on an industrial scale and introduces the Gevacopy papers. Gevacolor motion pictures were very successful. That same year, the company Hoechst/Kalle, which would be acquired by Agfa-Gevaert in 1996, develops the first presensitized offset printing plate.

This period is characterized by the standardization and automation of photomechanical reproduction methods, the breakthrough of photographic typesetting and the rise of scanners, all increasing productivity. There is a switch from the glass plate to the dimensionally stable polyester base. Color and tone correction methods improve.

In the nineteen fifties, Gevaert introduces the Copyrapid offset plates, as well as the Gevacopy aluminum offset plates: metal printing plates that have to be processed in contact with negative paper.


1960 – 1979: The Golden 60s and 70s

1964 is the year of the big merger between Agfa and Gevaert. In the following prosperous decade Agfa-Gevaert establishes itself as the leader of the standardization and automation of the graphic arts industry, while electronic techniques start making their way.

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A historical marriage


Not only is it the 125th anniversary of photography, but 1964 is also the year of the big merger between Gevaert and Agfa. In early 1964, Agfa AG, a 100% subsidiary of Bayer merges with Gevaert Photo Producten N.V. In doing so, two new operating companies are established on July 1st, and the two partners each hold a 50% stake: Gevaert-Agfa N.V. in Mortsel (Belgium) and Agfa-Gevaert AG in Leverkusen (Germany).

Cashcow Copyproof


In 1967, Copyproof black and white reprographic material is introduced: a simple on-bath processing system used for line, continuous tone and halftone reproduction by the diffusion transfer method. It is the easiest and fastest of all reprographic systems and requires a minimum investment. Because of its simplicity the system becomes very popular with design studios, advertising agencies, in-plant and commercial printers and publishers.

From photomechanical to electronic prepress


By 1970 Agfa-Gevaert is the leader of the standardization and automation of the graphic arts industry. In 1971, only six years after the merger, Agfa-Gevaert has applied for more than 2000 patents. In the same year, it introduces the Gevafax X-10, the first copier, based on xerographic technology, enabling economic photocopying onto plain paper.

By the mid-seventies, the oil crisis accelerates the trend to recycle. Next to the recycling of synthetic fibers, the silver extraction out of developing and fixation baths gets more and more attention.

By the end of the seventies, the photographic reproduction is increasingly characterized by the use of electronic techniques. Laser typesetters and EDG scanners make their way, as well as electronic color and pagination systems


1980 – 1990: Expanding in prepress technology

After Bayer has obtained 100% ownership of the Group at the beginning of the decade, Agfa-Gevaert starts producing anodized aluminum offset printing plates and expands its position in the field of printing and office systems through the acquisition of the American company Compugraphic.

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1980-1981: The silver crisis

International speculation on the silver market causes a significant rise in the price of silver, which is now seven times more expensive than the year before! As silver is one of the most important base materials for the photographic industry, these high prices put Agfa-Gevaert in a difficult financial situation. Bayer delivers additional funds and consequently obtains 100% ownership of the Agfa-Gevaert Group.

The takeover of Compugraphic

In 1982, Agfa starts selling the anodized aluminum offset printing plate, which thanks to its flexibility, cost price and excellent quality makes it possible to gain new and more specialized market segments. In the same year, it takes a majority share in the Compugraphic Corporation (USA), which provides state-of-the-art typesetting capabilities at an affordable price.

When Agfa acquires Compugraphic in 1988, it becomes the worldwide leader in equipment that imaged galleys and, later, fully composed page layouts on photographic paper or film. The acquisition of Compugraphic underlines the ambition of Agfa to expand its position in the field of printing and office systems.


1990 – 2000: From analog to digital

Whereas in the first half of the decade more sophisticated filmsetters take over from the early phototypesetters, the second half of the decade is charaterized by the shift from analog to digital technologies. A number of acquisitions make Agfa the leader in the graphic prepress industry.

Pictogram_108884_216x160

From typesetters to filmsetters

The beginning of the nineteen nineties signifies the breakthrough of digital desktop publishing (DTP), with the development of PostScript, a programming language which describes what a lay-outed page should look like, and which handles graphics and computer data in a uniform, consistent manner across all input/output interfaces. In 1988, Agfa and Adobe sign a license agreement for the use of PostScript. The ability of Postscript to compete with traditional typesetting is the key to have an impact on high-end commercial printing.

Whereas early phototypesetters handled only text, more sophisticated filmsetters are introduced in the early part of the decade that can output a variety of input onto film. One of Agfa's first imagesetters, incorporating PostScript, is the CG 9400 PS.

The shift to digital technology

In 1993, the first CtP plate, Lithostar, is introduced to the market by Agfa. As from the mid-nineties, computer-to-plate systems start to rise, with one computer-to-plate-system replacing up to four computer-to-film systems. This evolution happens a lot faster than expected, certainly in Europe. The shift to computer-to-plate also results in prepress suppliers focusing on a number of new opportunities, such as database management and internet services. Direct digital printing becomes possible for short run lenghts, e.g. posters.

The acquisition of Hoechst's printing plate and proofing business in 1996 and DuPont's graphic film and offset printing plates division in 1998 make Agfa the undisputed number 1 in the graphic prepress industry.

In 1999, the Agfa shares are introduced on the stock markets of Brussels and Frankfurt.


2001 - now: Prepress and printing in the third millennium

 

Agfa Graphics gains momentum at the turn of the third millennium. It acquires a number of companies, thus reinforcing its market and technology leadership in prepress. The company also opens a state-of-the-art factory in China, and enters the industrial inkjet printing market.

 

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In 2001, Agfa buys the American company Autologic, a US manufacturer of prepress systems for the newspaper market.

In 2003, Agfa Graphics opens a wholly-owned, state-of-the-art plate manufacturing plant in Wuxi, China.  

In 2004, Agfa introduces Azura, a chemistry-free Ctp plate based on ThermoFuse technology, another milestone in the development of new CtP plates. The same year, Agfa Graphics strengthens its market and technology leadership in the graphic markets by acquiring Lastra, an Italian manufacturer of analog and digital printing plates and ProImage, an Israeli developer of browser-based solutions for digital workflows in printing companies.

Over the following years, Agfa Graphics further develops its position in industrial and wide-format inkjet printing. This is done both through in-house research and acquisitions. In 2010, Agfa Graphics acquires the assets of the Canadian company Gandi Innovations, a leader in large-format inkjet printing systems. In August 2010, Agfa also acquired the Harold M. Pitman Company, its strategic partner for more than 50 years. Together, Agfa Pitman offer the broadest portfolio of innovative graphic communications products and services in North America. Agfa Graphics and Pitman are part of the Agfa Gevaert family.

Agfa Graphics also keeps focusing on the emerging markets in Asia and Latin America. In 2010, it creates a joint venture with Shenzhen Brothers to serve the growth markets in Greater China and ASEAN. It also takes over the Harold M. Pitman Company, a leading supplier of prepress, industrial inkjet, pressroom and packaging printing products and systems in the USA.

 

About us

About us

We are a leading supplier of digital printing solutions for sign and display and industrial printing. We are constantly expanding our offering in the growing digital inkjet market.

Company Structure

Company Structure

The main policy-making body of Agfa Graphics is the Executive Committee. It consists of the President and the vice-presidents of the different departments and regions.

Manufacturing Sites

Manufacturing Sites

Agfa Graphics has state-of-the-art printing plate and wide-format printing engines manufacturing sites over the entire world, close to its customers.

Our Vision & Mission

Our Vision & Mission

Despite the technology changes that we are confronted with, the Power of Print remains unequalled. Print is here to stay and will have even more applications in the future.

Sustainability

Sustainability

Agfa Graphics is committed to reducing the company's environmental impact across all aspects of its business from operations to products and services. Better products and better practices for a more sustainable printing industry and a better world.

Greenworks

Greenworks

"GreenWorks™, an Agfa Graphics initiative, accredits customers in the graphic communications industry in North America, who achieve greener outcomes through technology, products, services and practices."

Jobs at Agfa Graphics

Jobs at Agfa Graphics

Do you want to enrich your professional life and to use your creativity and experience for new challenges in a growing company with clear ambitions?

Internships

Internships

Through its Discovery program Agfa Graphics welcomes young talents from Europe and the world interested in an international internship.

Ceci n’est pas un calendrier

Ceci n’est pas un calendrier

True to tradition, we created a state-of-the-art printed calendar for 2017. The calendar stands out through it unique combination of contemporary art and graphic design, supreme print quality and vivid enhancement techniques.

Contact

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