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Technical training

Aug 1, 2007 12:00 AM

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How is your technical training program? How much time and money does your company spend on training employees? How would you like to spend virtually nothing and still have your employees learn?

Informal in-house training programs for adults do work. The easy way is to hold lunchtime training programs every two weeks for two hours. Several plants that I visit will invite a supplier, manufacturer or dealer to give an hour-long program to all employees on specific technical areas. PowerPoint presentations and literature are welcome. You might not — and more than likely do not — have a trainer on staff, nor do you necessarily have people who are speakers; manufacturers, suppliers and dealers do.

Here's a program outline for a small to midsized sheetfed pressroom:

  • Choosing the right paper for the job.
  • Proper paper handling and storage.
  • Paper cutting tricks and tips.
  • Color viewing and color perception — how to view at press.
  • Color matching — by eye and by spectro.
  • Tricks and tips for ink drying.
  • Varnish, water-based coatings — applications and options.
  • Offset blankets — manufacture, types, life and care.
  • Proper handling of solvents — choice of solvents.
  • How to set rollers — internal as well as forms.
  • Roller care and maintenance.
  • Offset plates — best practices on press.
  • Pressure settings — plate to blanket, blanket to impression and bearer pressure.
  • Common ink problems — definition and cure.
  • Common paper problems — definition and cure.
  • Press maintenance — preventative and scheduled.
  • Makeready techniques.
  • Control and measurement of fountain solution.
  • Control of ink/water balance.
  • Measurement of print quality.
  • Control of color — density, dot gain and gray balance.
  • Proper use of a spectrodensitometer.
  • Improving press running speed.
  • Press settings that a press operator can do.
  • Implementing 5S.

With the above you now have a one-year program (remember: every two weeks). The same can be done for other areas of the plant as well. One print told me they never had a supplier turn them down.

Why do all this? Cost is nil. It builds knowledge in your employees. It builds a strong sense of belonging. It reduces turnover.

Editor's note:

Ray Prince's “Tech Thought” series appears each month in AP's New Products section. See Don't miss his new podcasts at

Raymond J. Prince is a leading expert in pressroom technical and operational issues. He recently joined NAPL (Paramus, NJ) as vice president and senior consultant, operations management. Contact him at (605) 941-1492 or e-mail