Imago Shenzhen team with guests!

Production Visit to China

In February 2019, 3 of our production directors set off to China for a catch up with our office out there and to see the latest from some of the factories we are working with. Our European Production Director Amanda Lugg, shares her highlights.

Landing in China

After a 12-hour flight, which was surprisingly pleasant due to the added bonus of continuously being supplied with wine, I touched down at Hong Kong International where I met up with my colleagues Ali Wheeler from Imago, Australia and Ngoc Trice from Imago, New York.  The plan for the week was to spend a little time with our lovely colleagues in our Shenzhen office and to visit some of our printers around that area.  We aimed to cross into China on the Sunday, and we were lucky to have Ali, our pro for reading Chinese signs at the border!  I offered up my hand for the finger print reading, silently repeating ‘please sir, let me in, let me in’ as he looked at me ten times trying to work out whether I was indeed me.  Then all is ok and I’m in and I’m off to check-in and do a little retail therapy before we start work the following day.

Press room with air conditioning

In total we visited 6 very different factories in China.  There is something strangely exciting being in the pressroom with those familiar smells and sounds but a few highlights from the trip stick in my mind:

A new press (installed in 2018) has a special screen. The pressman scans the printed sheet and checks it under the lights and the image then miraculously appears on the screen with all of the colour densities in place.

Welcoming fountains with water running towards the factory to ensure good luck and good Feng Shui.

Printed book block edges

Sewn book blocks are clamped together in batches and edges are printed with any pattern or image you would like. Quite a long process as this particular stripy pattern took one hour to do 4 books! However the possibilities are almost endless and it is certainly one way to make your book stand out on the shelf. A very sophisticated system with high end results.

Automatic blade cutting for laser die cutting

These blades are used in the machines for laser die cutting and have a limited life span. If you are producing a large number of books you may find multiple blades are needed throughout the process. Once the blades are output they are hammered into a sheet to produce the final die cutting shape. It’s a wonderful mix of new technology and old!

Section sewing

Sewing book sections together – just like Mum’s old sewing machine – but the results are perfect and create a sturdy well bound end product.

Singer sewing books

And of course amazing and authentic food and drink a-plenty!

Seafood platter presented with drama!

Vitising china printers

And the tea, all the tea you could wish for, including a very special chrysanthemum tea….