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A Pressman's Guide To Starting Up A Press

Pressman's GuideStarting up an offset printing press on Monday morning is much like starting your car after a long cold night. When you were last driving it, it purred like a kitten. Now it fights to start again. The pressman faces a similar situation. Presses don’t like to be shut down. And the longer they’re shut down, the harder they are to get going again. Here are a few tips to help an offset pressman on those rough startups.

1. Practice Pressroom Courtesy
In other words, leave it the way that you would like it to be left for you. Even if you are going to be the next pressman running the press, leave everything in the perfect circumstances to start it up again. This might involve little things like having the pressman spray the rollers or ink fountain with something that will prevent it from drying.

2. The Pressman Should Have a List
Every time you start the press, there’s always something else that could have been done to make the process a little better. Write it down. Have a list of all the things necessary to make your start go just the way you want it. It could include everything from turning on the lights and press power to pressing the go button. The pressman should follow it and he won’t forget anything.

3. Have a Pressman Arrive Early

Having one member of your press crew arrive a few minutes early is a good idea. Why wait until everyone is present when one person can do those things that require only one person. Perhaps it’s warming up the rollers, or in the case of heatset printing, warming up the oven. Why should everyone wait around until those things are done?

4. Keep Your Waste Low
If you were to get in your car and drive after a cold night, you wouldn’t immediately start driving at 100 miles per hour. You would warm it up a bit first. It's the same with a press. Of course there’s nothing wrong with the pressman taking it up to top speed quickly, make sure everything is stable, particularly your ink and water balance. It might take a little time for the inks and unit temperature to stabilize. Running a little bit slow initially will help you have less waste and you will maintain the pressman's sanity. I may even reduce web breaks.

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