Printing Press Operator Career

Job Description: Set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines. Includes short-run offset printing presses.


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Printing Press Operator Career

What Printing Press Operators do:

  • Collect and inspect random samples during print runs to identify any necessary adjustments.
  • Verify that paper and ink meet the specifications for a given job.
  • Examine job orders to determine quantities to be printed, stock specifications, colors, or special printing instructions.
  • Start presses and pull proofs to check for ink coverage and density, alignment, and registration.
  • Clean or oil presses or make minor repairs, using hand tools.
  • Change press plates, blankets, or cylinders, as required.
  • Load presses with paper and make necessary adjustments, according to paper size.
  • Clean ink fountains, plates, or printing unit cylinders when press runs are completed.
  • Obtain or mix inks and fill ink fountains.
  • Secure printing plates to printing units and adjust tolerances.
  • Maintain time or production records.
  • Monitor automated press operation systems and respond to fault, error, or alert messages.
  • Feed paper through press cylinders and adjust feed and tension controls.
  • Adjust ink fountain flow rates.
  • Input production job settings into workstation terminals that control automated printing systems.
  • Monitor inventory levels on a regular basis, ordering or requesting additional supplies, as necessary.
  • Monitor environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, that may impact equipment performance and make necessary adjustments.
  • Set up or operate auxiliary equipment, such as cutting, folding, plate-making, drilling, or laminating machines.
  • Download completed jobs to archive media so that questions can be answered or jobs replicated.
  • Direct or monitor work of press crews.
  • Download or scan files to be printed, using printing production software.
  • Control workflow scheduling or job tracking, using computer database software.
  • Adjust digital files to alter print elements, such as fonts, graphics, or color separations.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Holland Code Chart for a Printing Press Operator