Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2012

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

Setting Your Fountain Blade - Do's and Don'ts

Treated properly, your fountain blades should last the lifetime of the press.  Setting them improperly will destroy the blade.  This in turn will never allow you to get an even setting across the length of the blade.  I would like to explore a couple of principles that will help you to set this properly.   Here is the order that our press room follows when calibrating the fountain blades on our press.   1.  Fill the fountain with black ink.  The reason for this is that it is the easiest to see the distinction between a blade that scrapes against the metal and a solid ink pattern. 2.  Electronically zero all the ink keys.  If you have a remote inking system, all your ink keys should now show zero. 3.  Open all the keys wide open.  Start with the keys on each end of the blade and slowly work your way to the center of the blade.  Your last keys to open will be the ones in the center. 4.  Starting from the middle, bring your blade to the point just before it scrapes

An Essential Press Room Tool You've Probably Never Seen

It's called an impact test hammer or resiliometer .  It is more commonly used in testing the hardness of concrete, but has an application in web offset printing.  It is used by paper companies and can be used by your press room.  It is inexpensive and can pay for itself many times over.   How It Works By pressing a small cylinder into the roll, a hardness reading can be obtained by the vibration produced of the spring impact.  Don't worry though, you really don't have to understand the science behind it.  What the device will give you is a measurement of the hardness of any particular spot on a roll (see video).  Generally, there will be a reading somewhere around 45 newton meters on regular newsprint.   What's more important than the reading itself is the difference in reading form side to side.  If you measure a reading of 35 one one side of the roll and then get a reading on the other side of 45, then you have a roll that was wound with uneven

What Causes Blanket Piling?

Blanket piling is a fact of life for our pressmen and becomes a source of downtime for us during long runs.  This requires shutting down the press to clean them sometimes.  We wash our blankets at different intervals, depending on the paper.  In our case it is mostly negative blanket piling - that is to say piling that occurs in the non-image areas.  Lately when running a medium wieght coated stock, we wash our blankets with automatic blanket washers because of piling every 50,000 revolutions.  Some papers we can increase this to 100,000.  For us it depends greatly on the paper we run. Why Blanket Piling Happens Essentially, minute particles of ink are embraced by the water in the emulsion process that takes place during the printing process.   Let me explain.  Ink and water mix in the rollers and water is deposited on the non-image areas of the plate.  What happens though is that in this process, very small particles of ink are accepted by the water.  This water then carries th

The Suggestions System
An Underworked Resource

A suggestion system study from Japan reported that one major corporation received 20,000 employee suggestions and 80% were implemented!  This is an incredible set of statistics... 80% implemented!!  Quite possibly one of the keys to Japan's success is the utilization of every workers brain as opposed to the American concept which assumes that brain work is a managerial function only.  A good press room manager knows otherwise. Where Management Fails One must consider, can any managerial group identify each and every opportunity for improvements?  Can they identify detrimental waste factors, speed limitations, mechanical problems as well as the man on the line?  Not really.  Typically, managers are involved in their own orbits of responsibilities with paperwork dominating their time.  The point must be made that an IQ of 140 locked in an office cannot compete with combined brain power on the factory floor.  And that presumption of a 140 IQ in the office may be ludicrous in s