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Lead printing to laser typesetting: the development of China's printing industry
Reading:2410     Date:2017-11-23
From lead printing to laser typesetting, from "north Book South printing" to tripod, from only printing books and periodicals to unlimited business opportunities... After 65 years of technological catch-up, the birthplace of movable-type printing has achieved a leap forward to a major printing country. On the way to a powerful printing country, the pace of development never stops.

Nowadays, when entering a bookstore, readers can not help but appreciate the exquisite printing technology of books while feeling the rich variety of books; from serving the press and publishing industry specially, to engaging in the packaging printing and business printing of "wearing clothes and hats" for various industries, the traditional publication printing enterprises are realizing diversified management. People are not only accustomed to using fast printing to solve the needs of work and study, but also the popular online customization of personalized printing to make printing more easily and softly permeate public life.

Inheritance: hand-made "lead and fire"

Visiting printing enterprises, whether bronze statues or wall paintings, the most common image of ancient people is Bisheng. In the early days of the founding of new China, Bi Sheng's "backs" still could be seen. At that time, the printing industry was mainly based on typeface printing, with various manual processes, which is the continuation of movable type printing technology.

"First melt lead, then cast the word, cast the word on the typesetting rack, pick the word workers to pick words. After choosing the type, the printer first spells the type. After choosing the type and typesetting, the proofreader proofreads it. Then the paper is cast. After the paper is produced, the lead plate can be made and the sample sheet printed. The production department of Beijing Xinhua Printing Co., Ltd., Zhang Shu, knows the process of print printing. This is because in 1981, when he came to work in the former Beijing Xinhua Printing Factory, the printing production was still mainly typography. It was not until the early 90s that lead printing completely withdrew from the stage of history.

In the historical exhibition hall of Beijing Xinhua Printing Co., Ltd., there is a wall of books displaying some of the best books printed over the years from 1949 to the present. Because of the different printing methods, the production time of these books is quite different. "In the past, we used to print the Selected Works of Mao Zedong and Red Flag magazines with lead. It took only two or three days for us to receive, type and proofread the manuscripts." Zhang Ru told China Press and Publication that today's printing speed is two or three times faster than in the 1980s.

In the era of lead printing, the printing and printing links are time consuming and laborious. Before the reform and opening up, China's post press binding has not yet realized automation and intellectualization. In the early days of the founding of the People's Republic of China, paper cutters were rare in printing factories. The tools we used to cut pages were the same as the sickles on the flag of the Communist Party of China. After 63 years of binding work, expert Wang Huaizhu told reporters.

In the age of typographic printing, not only the labor intensity of workers is high and the production efficiency is low, but also a large number of lead will affect workers'health and pollute the environment. Every worker in the lead row workshop and the binding workshop is eager to have an advanced technology to replace the original work.

Leap: grasp the first productive force

The advent of Laser Phototypesetting Technology has made light and electricity illuminate the hope of printing workers. In the late 1980s, a Chinese character laser typesetting system was developed by a scientific research team led by Wang Xuan Institute, which laid the foundation for the computerization of the whole process of press and publication and was praised as the second invention of Chinese character printing. Technological innovation has brought new changes to the printing industry. Zhao Shuwen, deputy general manager of Beijing Xinhua Printing Co., Ltd. told reporters that Beijing Xinhua Printing Co., Ltd. set up a laser typesetting workshop in the 1980s. The workshop can complete the procedures of book content input, typesetting and film output directly by computer. After using the laser typesetting system, the efficiency of text input alone has increased more than three times.

In the view of Pan Xiaodong, secretary-general of Shanghai Digital Printing Industry Association, China's printing industry has undergone a qualitative change since the reform and opening up. Foreign-funded and private enterprises have entered the market, and a large number of advanced overseas printing equipment has been introduced to China, thus enhancing the domestic printing capacity and level. "The Eighth Shanghai People's Printing Plant was an early domestic enterprise to introduce Heidelberg equipment, which caused a great shock in China at that time. The first high-end fashion magazine to be printed at that time, such as ELLE, would have been far from the printing effect if the traditional printing process had been followed. Pan Xiaodong recalls.

In the early years of reform and opening up, Shenzhen and Hong Kong accepted Western ideas and held the high-end printing market in China because they were close to the market. At that time, there appeared the phenomenon of "printing from north to south" in China, which was a long-term pain for printing enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai and other regions. Pan Xiaodong told reporters that in 1983, the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council made the Decision on Strengthening Publishing Work, proposing to "actively develop the printing industry and effectively change the situation of poor management, outdated equipment, extremely backward technology and inadequate production capacity of books and periodicals" in Beijing and Shanghai. The 6 factories are undergoing technological transformation. Since then, China's printing industry has started a real start, equipment obsolete, backward ideas, lack of talent and other "stumbling blocks" have been gradually removed. Nowadays, the phenomenon of "Northern Book and Southern Printing" has been completely changed. According to the list of the top 100 Chinese printing enterprises published recently in 2014, the Yangtze River Delta region, the Pearl River Delta region and the Bohai Rim region rank in the top three with 48, 13 and 11 respectively.
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