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Showing posts from September, 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

A Short History of Offset Printing

The history of offset printing could fill volumes.  Instead I would like to highlight more modern advances in offset printing as it relates to sheetfed and web printers.   1875:  The first press to use offset lithography and the offset printing process is invented in England.  It used a cardboard covered cylinder to transfer the image from stone to a metal surface. 1880:  Rubber is discovered as a more effective transfer method on an offset printing clylinder. 1892:  First four color rotary press is invented. 1895:   Harris Automatic Press Company is founded in Niles, Ohio.  The company begins research on how to better the offset printing process. 1903:  Ira Washington Rubel of the United States first uses the offset process and uses it to print on paper.  He discovers that images print sharper by printing from the stone to the blanket and then  to the paper.  This forms the basis for all modern offset lithography. 1911:   Man Roland enters the offset printing mark

Web Press Troubleshooting Guide - Cross Fold Tears

Definition:   This refers to the first fold across the grain of the paper in a web offset press folder.  Generally, the cross fold area refers to the area where the cutting and tucking cylinder meet the jaw cylinder.  Tears can happen in this area for various reasons. Problem:  Tears are happening at the lead edge after the first cross fold. Description:  While these tears happen most often at the chopper table, the transfer processes between fold cylinders and various belts can cause this problem. Solution:  Inspect all belts for tears or imperfections.  Next inspect all tucker blades and jaws that they are not broken.  Inspect all foam supports that may be built into the tucker blade and jaw cylinder that they are not worn.   Problem:  Tears are happening at the tail edge of the product after the frist cross fold. Description:  Tears at the tail edge usually indicate that there is a control issue among the belts.   Solution:  Move the position of the former and chopper tab

Web Press Troubleshooting Guide - Superstructure

Definition:  The web press superstructure is responsible for performing various functions which include the following: Slitting Tension control Web guidance Cutoff control / compensation Moving web position by angle bars Problem:  Web breaks Description:  If the web breaks in the superstructure only, it is likely a tension  or alignment issue.  Read first this guide on how  to troubleshoot web breaks . Solutions: 1.) Check that all web alignment devices are centered to put minimal stress on ribbons or web. 2.)  Use correct tension.  There should be a nip before and after the angle bars.  Generally tension is reduced slightly just before the angle bars and increased slightly just after.  This reduces tension slightly as the web slides around the angle bars. 3.)  Check that slitters are not dull and not not have any nicks in them. Problem:  Web wanders around angle bars. Description:  Web moves uncontrollably when going around air bars. Solutions:   1.)  Run the air

What Is The Right Way To Ask For a Raise?

I regret that for many years I was underpaid and I have only myself to blame.  I was too chicken to ask for a raise.  Since being in the printing industry for 23 years I have gained a little more self confidence and knowledge about what a pressman is worth.  So I would like to share with you a few tips that I’ve used over the years to get a raise.  If you’re one of the few that just work in the printing industry because you absolutely love printing, my hat goes off to you.  However, money is the main driving force in this industry.  So let’s talk dollars and cents.  What is the right way to ask for a raise in the offset printing industry. Know your worth.   Each state, even each city puts an individual value on press operators.  Find out what others make who perform the same task.  For example, if you are a four color sheetfed operator, don’t compare yourself with a newspaper web pressman.   Sheetfed and web pressmen get paid differently .  Find out what

Web Press Troubleshooting Guide - Folder - Second Fold

Description:   The second fold refers to the fold that takes place when running double parallel or delta fold.  Some web press folders have an additional cylinder that makes this possible.  It typically consists of gripper fingers and and tucker blades.  The gripper fingers lift the copy off the second cylinder and the tucker blade pushes the copy into the jaw cylinder a second time before the copy is released. Problem:  2nd cross-perf not timed with 2nd fold tucker blade.   Description:   This is usually on the same cylinder that performs the perf for the first cross fold.  If not, then you simply don't have this option and your second fold will not be as precise. Solution:   This is a trial and error process at first.  The distance between the first and second cross perf must be exact.  If it is slightly off, you will get occasional bad folds.  Time it perfectly. Problem:  Cross-perf not aligned properly. Description:   How this second cross perf hits, may vary depending on

Web Press Troubleshooting Guide - Folder - Crooked First Fold

Description:  The first fold describes the fold that takes place immediately upon leaving the cylinder with pins and cutting blocks and transferring by means of a tucker blade to the second cylinder.  The "jaw cylinder" as it is referred to as, then grips the signature between the moveable and stationary jaw and forms the first fold.  (technically the first fold happens over the former, but not all folds take place this way - eg: half webs) Problem:  Cross-perf not timed with tucker blade. Description:  This is basic rule for a web press folder.  If you are running the cross perf which is located below the former board, you must time it with the first fold.   Solution:  Turn off the cross perf momentarily if possible.  Then you will see where your first fold is taking place without the help of the cross-perf.  Now turn it back on and time the cross perf to this spot. Problem:  Cross-perf not aligned properly. Description:  Sometimes the cross perf does not line up

Who Makes More Money- Sheetfed or Web Pressmen?

I think the answer to this question is not surprising to most pressmen.  Web pressman make more.  The question is how much and why.  This is an article that is a spinoff of one I did talking about how much the average pressman makes in various cities in the USA .  Here are some of the latest figures from that reflect nation wide averages for an offset printing pressmen.  I throw flexo in there just for interests sake. Average yearly wages for pressmen in the USA flexo pressman $41,000 web pressman $39,000 sheetfed pressman $35,000 So the average web pressman pressman makes an average of $2,000 more than a sheetfed pressman.  This difference is even more pronounced when you specify what position on the press they work.  Notice the difference below of a web press operator versus a sheetfed operator  in Los Angeles. Average yearly wages for press operator in L.A. sheetfed press operator $33,000 web press operator $47,000 So

Five Tips For Shift Workers

Since we work shift work in our press room, I thought I would take a survey of everyone on the presses and see what advice they had to offer for those with rotating shifts.  I came up with five tips that I hope will help any pressmen out there to make the best of it.  I don't necessarily agree with every point, but hey, you are free to disagree too.  Here goes. 1.  Have a nap in your car.  I've never tried this, but it's not a bad idea.  After a night shift, one of our pressmen goes to his car, puts the seat back and attempts to take a nap.  If he falls asleep then he was too tired to drive home.  If he doesn't after 5 minutes, he drives home.  That's his way of being safe on the road. 2.  Black out your windows.  Tin foil or metal blinds usually do the trick.  A pitch black room that is nice and cool is all too good for sleeping.  I use metal blinds and wear ear plugs - the soft foamy kind.  That's right, all day at work, and all the time I'm asl