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Neal Thompson's Company Has a Nice Niche Combining Hard Copy Printing With Digital CR

by Barbara Kram, Editor | May 31, 2006
JD Imaging Corp. is head-
quartered in Illinois.

Something old, something new... No, they're not planning weddings at JD Imaging; they're making good matches between customers' needs in both the film and digital worlds. Since 1988, the company's bread and butter has been hard copy imaging printers. They refurbish Kodak, Agfa, and Sony equipment. But they are also distributors of a new computed radiography (CR) system made by Radlink.

"The trends are deemphasizing film and putting more emphasis on PACS and CR," said President Neal Thompson who bought the company in 2000 with business partner Paul Poreda. "It affects us because we were always in the hard copy printing business. We are finding ways to compensate for that and that's why we've gotten into the CRs."

But not just any CR. The Radlink comes at a competitive price putting digital imaging within reach of more practitioners such as chiropractors and even veterinarians. Other advantages of the Radlink include lots of bells and whistles. "It seems to beat the competition with all the standard options that come with it," Thompson said, noting for example a built-in CD burner.

The company has carefully positioned itself to thrive in today's in-between world, which recognizes the benefits of digital imaging but is pressed to contain capital costs. "We tried to get into the used CR market and it just doesn't work right...too many upgrades...people don't like the image quality. These new [CR systems] have real good image quality. So we have gone back to that."

While digital technologies proliferate, the reality for many providers is still a print-based world. As expertise in servicing that world erodes, JD Imaging's base expands, including third-party customers who bundle their systems. Also helping build the business is JD Imaging's service, warranty, attention to the customer; and inventory of printers, CR systems and parts.

"It has been going pretty well considering the deemphasis on film," Thompson said. "We still do a lot with these printers. There are still a lot of them out there that need service. Or, even if [health care providers] go digital, they still want to print sometimes."