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Punches and Punch Matrices Made by Sintering

Punches and Punch Matrices Made by Sintering In order to make type, a mold called a matrix is necessary. Basically there are three processes which can be used to make a matrix. They are the punch process, electric plating, and carving. The punch process involves punching the material, such as brass, used for the base of the matrix with a punch in the same convex shape as the printing type. It is possible to mass-produce matrices with one punch. This is the most commonly used type manufacturing process in the West, but it didn't become popular in Japan. That's because the Chinese characters used in Japan are often very intricate, and in particular the Ming-style type popular at that time featured such slender strokes that it would have been a difficult task to carve them into a metal strong enough to withstand the impact of being punched.

In 1972, Toshiharu Hosoya succeeded in developing an unprecedented process for the manufacture of hard and accurate punches, a method utilizing sintering technology to mold metallic powder under pressure at high temperatures. The mold for the sintering of the punch also uses special carbon, a feature that makes carving easier. This technique made it possible to rapidly mass-produce all the varieties of punches necessary for the Monotypes used to print Japanese text, and supported the production of newspapers and books on a large scale.

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