The last time PW wrote about Artron was in 2016, soon after it completed Peter Lik’s epic Equation of Time, a 528-page large-format photography book that was printed digitally on a Screen TruePress Jet SX inkjet press. Since then, the company’s digital/on-demand printing business and machinery lineup have grown significantly.
Three Komori Impremia IS29 inkjet presses, capable of large-format (57.5 x 73 cm) printing on ordinary stocks, have been added. “We also brought in a MitaBook fully automatic casing-in machine to further expedite the finishing process and make it economical for low quantities of hardcover titles,” says overseas business development director Ivan Lee, whose team has set up a social media account on WeChat to allow clients to easily upload their files. Major digital-printing projects that Artron recently handled include a book on the collection of celebrity portraits by Chen Man, a renowned photographer in China, and another featuring the Potala Palace. (See p. 49 for more details.)
For its offset printing lineup, a brand-new Hybrid UV (H-UV) press was installed last year. “It offers the same consistent quality as our existing offset presses—of which there are 33 across three facilities—especially after it is calibrated with our color management system. In fact, it has even better print quality on uncoated stock,” says Lee, adding that this unexpected result has prompted the management team to upgrade one existing press to H-UV as well.
Artron, however, is not just a print company known for serving big-name coffee-table/illustrated book publishers, museums, art galleries, photography agencies, architectural firms, and luxury goods companies. As a group, its focus is on arts and culture and everything to do with artists and their works. It has lent its name and prestige to the Chinese art circle to help overseas publishers publicize their titles and authors. For instance, aside from printing Ferran Adria’s ElBulli 2005–2011 for Phaidon, the team held the Chinese edition launch at its Shenzhen-based Artron Art Center. And after the completion of the Chinese edition of Nathan Myhrvold’s 2,400-page Modernist Cuisine, the Artron team assisted the Cooking Lab in organizing the book launch at the Gourmand awards in Beijing.
Environmental concerns currently take the center stage. “We have installed a central ink supply system to minimize ink wastage and spillage on our production floor. We are now looking into carbon neutrality by exploring ways to reduce our internal carbon footprint while supporting select sustainability projects,” Lee says. “Artron’s goal is always to expand our business around the slogan Beauty of Art while simultaneously fulfilling our social responsibilities and achieving environmental sustainability.”