Running A Press Despite Unreliable Power

Not all press rooms, even in North America, have reliable power sources.  Whether you are running a small sheetfed or a large offset newspaper press, a power surge, or brown out will bring your offset printing press to a halt, likely causing a jam or breaking the web.  

What I find worse than this is all the funky things power surges will do to the electronics of the press.  We get power surges or brown outs about once a month.  For us, buying a large generator to compensate is not a cost effective option.  I imagine if I worked in India or somewhere else they would happen far more often, so I'm not complaining.  Here are the things we've learned and the procedures we follow during any electrical interruption whether it be from an electrical storm or just unreliable power.

Isolate all power sources that can trip or need resetting.
1.  Isolate all power sources.  It may be as simple as one breaker that trips.  It may be a number of electrical panels that supply power to the press.  Whatever the case, checking all the panels for tripped breakers is a quick and easy check.

2.  Record problems.  I don't know about other press rooms, but when we have a power surge, there is always something not right when we try to go up again.  Create a database of all the problems you've had and the remedy you found to fix them.  These records come in handy when you are trying to troubleshoot problems with various press components.  They also help make a good checklist to go over when it happens again.

3.  Make a list of all electronics and reset all of them.  Whenever we have a power surge, there is always something not right with the electronics on our offset presses.  It's never the same problem though.  The best solution we have come up with is to restart or reset all of the electronic components.  It takes a few extra minutes, but saves a lot of time, waste, and your sanity when you try to go up again.

4.  Make it a planned event.  The power failure is of course unplanned.  But if the pressman, or the crew know exactly what to do, it will make going back up on count a lot faster.  Treat it like a make ready, something you can get fast at.  Use your checklist of power sources and potential problems as a plan of action for each press room member to implement the moment the power comes back on.  If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?  Get good at it and you will minimize downtime on your press.

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