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.

Eye on the Competition

When it came to the transition from conventional printing to an all-digital workflow, including CTP technology, Blanks took a wait-and-see attitude before leaping to the next level. “I kept watching most of our competitors,” he says, “and they would buy two platesetters because they were not as reliable as the lines already in place. So if one went down, you had to have a second machine as a backup, which you might also use for proofing. That’s very expensive—we didn’t want to do that.”

Blanks kept a close eye on the market, and finally decided to make the move when he heard about the merger of Creo and Scitex, and saw their work with KPG.

“They put the best of all possible worlds together,” he adds. “We were already a big Scitex and Kodak Polychrome Graphics user. We use both Kodak Approval Classics and two Approval XP4s, and we still have a lot of prepress work that has to be proofed for web printing outside of the building. So we needed our XP4s for those accounts, as well as to integrate them into the printing environment. And we only wanted one CTP unit. All in all, our new system has really been a great blend of equipment.”

KPG’s CTP1 compact thermal processing system is an integrated equipment and chemistry system consisting of a preheating module, a thermal plate processor and an optional post-baking rinse gum unit (the “Quick Bake”). The system is said to require 75 percent less floor space than conventional plate processors, cuts chemistry consumption by 40 percent and reduces electricity usage by 80 percent.

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