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Showing posts from July, 2011

How To Make Printing Ink

  Introduction Printing ink is so much more than just the black stuff that you put on a page. It has been around for thousands of years, and it's been used in everything from newspaper presses to digital printers. As you can see, we're not talking about offset printing ink which is oil based. I want to have a little fun and talk about how you can make your own ink for your printer.  At home! Ready? Ingredients You will need the following ingredients: Soot (5 tbsp) : This is as purest as it gest. You can make the soot yourself by holding a glass up to a flame. This will allow you to slowly accumulate the soot. Water (2 tbsp): For the base of your ink, use distilled water so that you don't introduce any impurities into the mix. Distilled water is also easier to clean up than tap water because there are no minerals or residue left behind from tap water. Alcohol (2 tbsp) (grain alcohol): This ingredient works as a preservative for your ink and allows it to last for several mo

The Motivational Pyramid For Pressrooms

The most stressful question in the minds of many managers is, "How can I motivate my workers to perform their jobs above the minimum, 'get by' level?  In a recent seminar, this question came up repeatedly.  It was evident that the managers asking the questions were looking for another magic trick to get the job done.  The challenge was to provide a single sentence answer. The motivational question was entwined with related problems of quality control and worker turnover.  In discussions, it was established that workers were quick to lay back for any minor problem - they produced minimum level of quality and had no loyalty to the job or employer, so they quit on a regular basis.  They could not hire and hold a pressman .  This, even in the competitive wage structure.  One interesting fallout was that the turnover was very high in the marginal poor performer area and low on the skilled level. In crew meetings I participated in, on various occasions in many plants, the

Troubleshooting Piling Problems

For the past few weeks we've had serious problems within piling on our four color web press.  We are running four units in the following order:  black, cyan, magenta and yellow.  What happens is that even after about 5,000 copies, thick piling occurs on the blankets and they quickly get smashed.  This can vary and sometimes we can go much longer.  However, the problem remains that the piling comes prematurely.  There are of course many factors that cause piling, but here are a few facts that helped us to troubleshoot it properly. 1.  The piling occurred on mostly the last two units. 2.  Upon close examination, the piling was actually black that was backtracking on to successive blankets (see pic above - shown is yellow blanket printing last with blanket ink on it that was printed first). 3.  Not all ink adjusters were having the same problem. The immediate thought was that the ink and water balance wasn't quite right.  If it is an ink problem, then all the pres

More Lawsuits From Pressmen Against Printers

Time and again, offset printers are being held responsible for not properly guarding their presses.  Lawsuits get filed form time to time and I appreciate how printers and press manufacturers are being held responsible for not properly protecting the pressman that they employ.  Here are a few more examples of printers and press manufacturers who have been sued successfully. USA Al Schallau Law Firm of Palos Verdes successfully helped Luis Sibayan sue a press manufacturer for failure in the following area. Inadequate guarding of pinch points on the press Luis claimed that his hand was caught in the press which resulted in the amputation of several fingers on his right hand.  When an accident report was filled out, the printer claimed that it was negligence on the part of the pressman.  It was discovered shortly afterward that the employer had been sued several times before for similar incidents.  After his settlement, Luis promptly went out and bought himself a new house. Settl

How To Manage A Pressroom - The Basics

At a seminar I conducted for the Printing Industries of Michigan group, I polled the assembled managers to determine their primary interests.  Why did they come, was the question. Each and every one responded that they were interested in becoming better managers , and their biggest concern was in the area of people handling.   Bear in mind that these men were not rookies in the managerial field.   They ranged from plant managers, superintendents, foremen, and two lead pressmen.   During the entire full day of discussion, not a single mechanical question was raised. Here is how I responded to their requests in four segments. First, a manager must understand his costs.  Too often we focus our attention on cutting crew costs by reducing manning and by rock bottom pay scales.  What every manager must realize is that the total job cost formula has shifted dramatically and now the biggest cost factor by far is material cost.  This is a fallout of two factors.  One, much higher speeds

Motivate Your Press Operator With Incentives

Incentives, bonuses, and pay for performance programs are not the most popular concepts in the modern press room of today.  It is a general assumption that the sophisticated management of today can achieve productivity and quality without bonuses.  In some cases this is true; many are successful.  It has been my experience that nothing drives a crew like a dollar.  I remember as a pressman, that I webbed up a press ten times in an hour because I had a good bonus we going.  An unmotivated crew could have done this twice at most. The Orlando Sentinel implemented an incentive program and raised productivity, cut waste, and improved quality in an already successful plant.  One significant improvement: 500 rolls without a web break.  That's an incredible achievement! Even Mickey Mouse incentives have an effect.  Recognize high runs with awards.  Give promotional gifts for outstanding work. Take crews to lunch.  Give cash bonuses.  Get them captains hats.  All of these actions pay of

The Advantages of a Shaftless Printing Press

Shaftless printing press technology really only got off the ground about 10 years ago.  Despite that, it has gained universal acceptance among printers as the standard for offset printing.  I made the transition in 2005 to a Man Roland Lithoman shaftless printing press and I certainly see the reason for its acceptance.  While I do agree that there are many advantages, I want to include some disadvantages to create a real picture from an operational standpoint.  So here they are. Advantages of Shaftless Printing Less Vibration With all units connected by a single drive shaft, the conventional printing press would get less than a perfect image - that is to say, dot reproduction.  Any vibration that originated at the folder would travel all the way down the shaft of the press.  This ultimately could be seen in dot reproduction.  What this meant for us is that we couldn't necessarily trust the gain in dot size from a single sheet, but a group had to be collected to get an accur

What Is Heatset Printing Ink Made Of?

Heatset printing ink is made for the offset printing  process.  It is made specifically to deal with high speeds and a quick drying process that is accomplished by means of a heatset oven .  Heatset printing ink however is one of only about six different categories for the offset printing industry.  Here are the categories: waterless ultraviolet (UV) electron beam (EB) coldset heatset Each of these categories have similarities, but basically differ in the ingredient referred to as the vehicle.  This component has the most potential for manipulating the properties of the printing ink.  However, let's zero in on heatset printing ink broken down into six main components. 1.  Resins Thermoplastic resins This part of heatset printing ink helps differ it from all other types and makes heatset printing what it really is.  In its natural state, resins thickens the ink somewhat.  However when it enters the dryer, this is where the magic happens.  These thermoplastic resins

The Offset Printing Quality Standards Checklist

An offset printing quality standards checklist is essential for any pressroom.  Without it, pressmen will make their own judgements as to what is acceptable and what is not.  If management is serious about quality, they will effectively communicate well defined parameters of all the pressroom variables that effect quality. Making a checklist is not rocket science but sometimes you just need somewhere to get started.  Here is an outline that will help you get started. 1.  Finishing Standards Whether it's sheetfed offset printing or heatset web offset, paper will wander as it travels through the press.  There are of course many controls within the press right from the pile of sheets or the flying paster to keep it aligned.  However an exact measurement as to how much wander is acceptable is necessary.  If the copy is folded or trimmed, how much is it allowed to be out of alignment before it is unacceptable?  These things must be clearly spelled out. 2.  Ink Standards Unles

How To Keep Offset Printing Suppliers Honest

Offset printing suppliers are not dishonest... most of the time.  But let's face it, they have to make a buck just like anyone else.  With the rising price of energy, they are trying to come up with ways to use cheaper materials and less labor, just like anyone else.  The problem is that sometimes runnability is sacrificed with the offset printing process when suppliers make changes. Case In Point We recently had a problem arise with excessive piling on our blankets.  Massive amounts of time went into troubleshooting the problem and it was difficult to control waste .  Our ink supplier came in.  He said it was our fountain solution.  Our fountain solution supplier thought it was the blankets .  The blanket supplier thought it was the plates.  So the blame game began and round and round we went.  The truth is that something  changed, but what? If you have had difficulty troubleshooting ink , fountain solution, or even something like web breaks , here are three things