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March 2002
"It was either an act of insanity or an act of complete bravery," admits Pat Flynn, vice president of sales for Blanks Color Imaging in Dallas. "But, the first job we ran on our new computer-to-plate system was an absolutely magnificent catalog of Renaissance paintings. We should get the medal of honor, because we did it. It turned out so beautifully."

That's the kind of faith that owner Leron Blanks and his production staff had in a newly installed, but virtually untested, CTP system they installed at the beginning of 2001. The system—including a Creo Lotem 800B platesetter, a Kodak Approval XP4 digital proofing system and a Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG) CTP1 compact thermal processing system using KPG's Thermal Printing Plate/830—lived up to Blanks' high expectations.

"The catalog was for the new exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth," Flynn explains. "We ran it on the new system with the complete approval of the art director. Ordinarily we'd run this job at a 150- or 170-line screen, but we were going to a 200- to 240-line screen on the new system. We couldn't have done that without the new equipment."

Producing display-quality images at such high resolutions usually would prompt the art director to demand multiple proofs and press sheets until the printer produced the quality required. "That's not how it went this time," Flynn recalls. "The art director signed off on the first or second proofs. You could cut these pictures out of the catalog and hang them on the wall. Every detail came through—you can see the brush strokes in the paintings. It was an absolutely wonderful success story."

The pages were cleaner, no hickeys—just flawless, according to Blanks, president and sole stockholder. "They approved the proofs to color very quickly on-press, and they really liked the heavy saturation of inks and good density. We couldn't do that before with a piece like this. It would just have too much dot gain on-press."

Known in the industry as a "print logistics" company, managing the entire print production process, from image and text files to mailing and distribution, Blanks Color Imaging prides itself on its 60-year history of observing and adopting new technologies. The $20 million company specializes in high-end printing work for customers ranging from JC Penney and American Airlines to advertising agencies including McCann Erickson, keeping its five-, six- and eight-color Heidelberg presses running continuously.

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