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Triple threat

Nov 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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One of the fastest growing segments in North America for Williston, VT-based KBA is digital offset, and its waterless 74 Karat direct imaging (DI) press is in brisk demand. Not only does the press help printers differentiate themselves from their competitors but it provides them with the ability to print high-quality jobs on a variety of substrates, including plastic and lenticular film, and even canvas. This is the route that Blanks Printing & Imaging, Inc., (Dallas) has taken.

“By installing the 74 Karat, we have differentiated ourselves in the short-run, high-quality color market,” says Pat Flynn, Blanks’ executive vice president and GM. “The Karat allows us to produce short-run, high-quality color jobs on a digital offset 29-inch press rather than our large 40-inch sheetfed presses. Plus, it gives us the ability to branch out into new areas such as direct mail and specialty printing on plastic and lenticular, which give us new revenue streams.”

The long and short of it
In the past, Blanks had two Heidelberg 40-inch sheetfed offset presses: an eight-color perfector and a six-color CD press, both with aqueous coating. Many of Blanks’ customers do both long-run commercial work and short-run, quick-turnaround jobs under 10,000 sheets. The 74 Karat generates more business for the larger presses because it can be used for a first short run, with subsequent longer runs printed on the 40-inch presses.

Blanks produces jobs with coated, premium and uncoated stock on the 74 Karat. In addition, it prints on plastic and lenticular lens. “Since we have our own digital photography studio, we’re very interested in adding lenticular printing to our job offerings,” says Flynn. The company uses inks that require neither UV coating nor curing. “We produced 50,000 lenticular postcards for the Direct Marketing Assn.’s conference and exhibition in October 2005. We also produced 25,000 eye-catching postcards promoting MediaWeek’s Media All Stars awards luncheon as well as 3D covers for an annual report.”

In addition, the firm used the Karat to print a beautiful 2005 calendar, Daydreaming, for 3,000 lucky clients. Each month features a photo taken by company president Leron Blanks. The company also has experimented with canvas on the Karat. “We did some samples for people who wanted reproductions of work done on canvas, and they look superb,” says Flynn. “The 74 Karat is an extraordinary press. It prints an excellent dot, and makeready is within seven sheets—that’s amazing!” The press is showcased in a glass-walled room designed for visitor tours and client press checks.

About Blanks Printing & Imaging
Blanks Printing & Imaging, Inc., was established in 1941 by Roy Blanks, Leron’s father. Leron Blanks has been the president since 1978 and the sole owner since 1982. The firm employs 117 people. Its nationwide customers include large retail businesses that require signage, posters, POS and advertising materials, catalogues, brochures, and annual reports. Blanks provides prepress, printing, binding, photography, fulfillment and shipping. The company also is the largest sheetfed-only printer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.