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Details for Printing Machine Operators


Set up or operate various types of printing machines, such as offset, letterset, intaglio, or gravure presses or screen printers to produce print on paper or other materials.


  • Inspect and examine printed products for print clarity, color accuracy, conformance to specifications, and external defects.
  • Push buttons, turn handles or move controls and levers to start and control printing machines.
  • Reposition printing plates, adjust pressure rolls, or otherwise adjust machines to improve print quality, using knobs, handwheels, or hand tools.
  • Set and adjust speed, temperature, ink flow, and positions and pressure tolerances of equipment.
  • Examine job orders to determine details such as quantities to be printed, production times, stock specifications, colors, and color sequences.
  • Select and install printing plates, rollers, feed guides, gauges, screens, stencils, type, dies, and cylinders in machines according to specifications, using hand tools.
  • Monitor feeding, printing, and racking processes of presses in order to maintain specified operating levels and to detect malfunctions; make any necessary adjustments.
  • Operate equipment at slow speed to ensure proper ink coverage, alignment, and registration.
  • Load, position, and adjust unprinted materials on holding fixtures or in equipment loading and feeding mechanisms.
  • Pour or spread paint, ink, color compounds, and other materials into reservoirs, troughs, hoppers, or color holders of printing units, making measurements and adjustments to control color and viscosity.
  • Repair, maintain, or adjust equipment.
  • Blend and test paint, inks, stains, and solvents according to types of material being printed and work order specifications.
  • Clean and lubricate printing machines and components, using oil, solvents, brushes, rags, and hoses.
  • Remove printed materials from presses, using handtrucks, electric lifts, or hoists, and transport them to drying, storage or finishing areas.
  • Input instructions in order to program automated machinery, using a computer keyboard.
  • Place printed items in ovens to dry or set ink.
  • Squeeze or spread ink on plates, pads, or rollers, using putty knives, brushes, or sponges.
  • Measure screens, and use measurements to center and align screens in proper positions and sequences on machines, using gauges and hand tools.
  • Monitor and control operation of auxiliary equipment used to assemble and finish products.
  • Correct misprinted materials, using materials such as ink eradicators or solvents.
  • Direct and monitor activities of workers feeding, inspecting, and tending printing machines and materials.
  • Pour ink into pans, and smooth paint onto stencils, using flat-bladed knives.
  • Prepare and treat lithographic plates with various chemicals to clean and preserve plates and fix images.
  • Coordinate printing activities with activities of workers who set up, clean, and feed machines.
  • Monitor stocks of materials such as paper, ink, and metal in order to maintain supplies during equipment operation.
  • Position knives at specified distances from edges of plastic material in order to trim excess material from edges.
  • Thin printing compounds, using specified thinners.
  • Maintain records of goods produced, supplies used, production costs, and machine maintenance and repair activities.
  • Attach cloth to take-up rollers, placing it in feeding position and threading it through equipment as necessary.
  • Requisition supplies, materials, and equipment, and receive stock when it arrives.
  • Pack and label cartons, boxes, or bins of finished products.
  • Provide assistance in the design and layout of forms and materials to be printed.
  • Place spools of thread or wire on holders, and thread through machines.
  • Apply glue or tape to holes in screens in order to repair leaks.


Education, Training, Experience



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