How 5S Can Make a Difference in Your Pressroom

We recently adopted a 5S program in our pressroom.  What is 5S?  It turns out that it was one of the tools in the arsenal of Toyota that helped bring the american car industry to it's knees.  It's written about in detail in a book entitled, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer . I highly recommend it.  You will start swimming with ideas about how to improve productivity on your offset press.

It's a simple program that is part of the lean manufacturing technique adopted by thousands of companies around the world. Quite simply, it's 5 Japanse words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Translation: sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining.

The philosophy is that the cleaner and more orderly your work environment is, the leaner your manufacturing will be.  Not an easy connection to make for management sometimes.  The thinking can also be translated into quality as well.  In other words, the cleaner the press, the better quality you will produce, not to mention morale improvements.

We started off small.  The reason being that you can't just shut down the press for the purpose of cleaning it, so we started with the area around it.  Again and again the motto was repeated, sort, sweep, shine, standardize and sustain.  Different members of the press crew were allowed to do "inspections" of areas around the press.  It wasn't long before we had a long list of projects.  Then we assigned them.

We started with the printing units on our Manroland Lithoman press.  We cleaned up the fronts and then waxed them.  We buffed the floor as well.

We waxed the front of the print units
until the reflection came back.
This part was easy to do on the run.  To get inside the press, we had to coordinated pockets of time for cleaning during allocated maintenace time as well as downtime.  For an extended period of downtime we rented a dry ice machine much like this one.

The standardizing part of the 5S program meant that everything had a place.  The guys went to town on this and found a place for everything.  Here's some examples:

Marked places for splice tape and paper stripper.

The vacuum and hoses were taken off the floor and hung up.

Even our carts for belts etc were given a designated spot.

Needless to say maintaining this will be the key.  But this much I can say, it has changed the way we print.  The $15 we spent on the book was well worth it and I highly recommend it.  Go to Amazon or click the link in the first paragraph of this article.  Believe me, it's worth it.

Related Articles:
How to Establish Preventative Maintenance in Offset Printing
Press Maintenance - A Pressman's Guide


  1. HI

    This is good blog we can get good information about the printing and other prducts.


  2. Being pressroom foreman this will help immensely thanks.