Print finishing machinery can be very complicated to operate. This can make it a bit off-putting if you are new to the job. Thankfully there is a comprehensive process you can go through to master your machinery which will have you completing jobs with ease in no time. Speed is the name of the game when operating a print finisher, but you also have to maintain quality. After years and years of practice running these machines, you learn some tricks of the trade and some sage wisdom. Here are some of the things a true print finishing master knows and has learned over decades.
Always Read the Instructions
This is a universal piece of advice you can use for any machine but is particularly the case with print finishing equipment. Many operators make the mistake of assuming that all machines run the same, and this is not true. A machine might require one setting for one type of material and different setting for a different type. If you encounter a problem that you can’t figure out right away on your own, always check the manual. Chances are you’ll find a useful diagram or illustration telling you exactly what your problem is and how to fix it.
Pursue Extra Training
Almost every major print finishing equipment manufacturer offers training at their facilities, and if not, they will send out instructors to train you at your shop. Training is much more effective than letting employees go through on-the-job learning. Some studies show that productivity in print finishing shops can increase by as much as 80% with basic training on the equipment provided by the manufacturer. This is most likely because the manufacturer can provide training with a lot more depth and intricate knowledge on how to use their machine. Manufacturers have the motivation of wanting to see you do well with their machines, which is sometimes not the case with co-workers. On-the-job training might not follow any comprehensive structure and can leave huge knowledge gaps.
Mechanics Are Your Friends
Any good print shop should have at least one mechanic around at all times to make sure any malfunctions get taken care of quickly. When you are running equipment like print finishing machines all day long, breakdowns and malfunctions happen quite frequently, especially when operators are required. Many factories and places that run many machines have a red light system that allows the operator to flip a switch at his or her station when a machine isn’t working properly. Mechanics can then be notified to come over to help fix the problem. Of all the people who know how to run your print finishing equipment, mechanics by far have the most advanced knowledge. They do fix print finishing equipment all day long, so they know every little quirk that each machine has. Whenever you notice something weird with a machine, keep a mental note of it and mention it to your mechanic next time you have a chance.
Put in Extra Time
If you want to go the extra mile in learning how to operate your machinery, you start a different project or job on the same equipment you work on. This allows you to get experience with different materials on the same machine which only serves to deepen your overall knowledge of it. You will likely feel like a beginner again when you first start, and you may even need to ask your boss to slow down the pace!
The fastest way to inhibit your productivity potential is to take what on-the-job training you get. You should be asking questions about your machine to anybody who has experience running it. This includes colleagues, manufacturers, vendors, mechanics, and more. You can even take your quest for knowledge to online forums. Social media is your friend in today’s world. One thing to keep in mind when questioning people about your machinery is not to disrespect their time. You might end up getting charged for your inquires if they take too long.
Take Your Time
You can’t rush the learning process; mastery takes time. Allow yourself to make mistakes and don’t expect too much progress too soon. Just keep in mind that every day you are getting better and more efficient, and soon enough you will be where you want to be.
Print finishing equipment can be complicated to master. There are many different types, and on-the-job training is just not enough to get you where you need to be. Follow the six tips in this article, and you are guaranteed to speed up the process of mastery and shorten your learning curve. MCT Digital is one company that works with its customers to provide excellent training and instruction on how to use their equipment.
Do you have questions? Feel free to call us anytime (414) 939-3270. We are always available to help you through any situation!