Printing machinists set up and operate letterpress, lithographic, flexographic and gravure printing presses. They work on a range of printed products including packaging, stationery, greeting cards, books and newspapers, depending on the printing method used.
- Letterpress printing is the oldest form of printing, in which ink is applied to a raised surface and transferred directly to paper through pressure. This process is used widely in the production of self-adhesive stickers.
- Offset lithography is a process of printing from a plate with a flat surface (planographic) and is used mainly in the production of newspapers, magazines, cardboard packaging and books.
- Flexographic printing uses a raised surface on a flexible rubber or photopolymer plate to produce flexible packaging such as bread bags and confectionary wrappers.
- Gravure printing uses a recessed cylinder to remove excess ink from the paper's surface, producing an engraved design effect (intaglio). This process is used mainly for long-run packaging work designed for food and other consumables.
Duties & Tasks
Printing machinists may perform the following tasks:
- make printing plates
- fit printing plates or cylinders on presses, mix the inks that are applied to them and adjust the colour flow to the image
- adjust the paper feeding devices that separate and feed sheets through the machine
- monitor machines and print quality
- carry out minor repairs and routine maintenance
- set up and operate 'in-line' finishing functions.
Printing machinists work in both small businesses and large manufacturing companies, and with single and multi-colour printing presses.
- enjoy practical and manual work
- good eyesight (may be corrected) and normal colour vision
- good hand-eye coordination
- able to carry out detailed work
- mechanical aptitude.