Press Training ? A Missing Link p. 32

By: JIM ROSENBERG PRESSROOMS CONVERTING FROM letterpress to offset not only face training in lithography and the mechanics of a new printing press, but invariably also in the use of computerized press controls.
As press control systems advance, much of the work becomes automated ? from webbing up to setting inks to adjusting register. Shaftless press drive systems take this a step further by moving control of the synchronized motions of a press' rotating elements from the strictly electro-mechanical realm partly or entirely into the area of digital electronics.
To the extent that shafts, gears and clutches disappear, the knowledge of physical component assemblies needs to be complemented by an understanding of the AC-motor and processor circuits that coordinate operation of the multiple drives that substitute for mechanical transmission of force from one or a few motors.
Early this year, at the Newspaper Association of America's SuperConference, MAN Roland Inc. CEO Helgi Schmidt-Liermann said a shaftless press adds demands for different and more sophisticated operating and maintenance skills. Good housekeeping and preventive maintenance, he added, are more important than ever.
Global Press Sales Inc. president Edward Padilla, a former MAN chief himself, said very few newspapers budget for press training, which he called "the one missing link" in pressroom modernization projects. Having spent much of his career on the newspaper side, in positions ranging from pressman to production manager to publisher, Padilla added that newspapers typically underestimate the operating and maintenance training that is required for press crews.
Another executive who sells machinery also finds that success is as much as matter of mind as it is metal. Inland Newspaper Machinery Corp. president Beau Campbell said he's found in his own company's used equipment sales that "at least half" of what is needed to achieve quality printing and optimum operating objectives is in operating knowledge, not equipment capabilities.
In a session that followed, one customer hoping to gain from the latest technology is also a stickler for training. Willing to buy the country's first shaftless offset press, from Wifag (which had never sold to a North American newspaper), Tulsa World president Kenneth Fleming said he's also big on training and willing to pay for it, too.
Press operators in his commercial printing business, said Fleming, are required to attend eight hours of classes each month. Their pay raises, he added, depend on how much they learn.
Training on the country's first running Geoman offset press from MAN Roland "was an extremely big issue" last year in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said Albert Manzi. The Times Leader operations director said personnel not only trained on subassemblies, but also liked using a simulator to train on all operating issues.
Much of what amounts to sound practices, according to Padilla, often comes down to basics. A spotless pressroom, he observed, is ordinarily an indicator of equipment that is properly used ? which he said he often finds true in South American pressrooms, whether using old or new presses.
Making customers understand the need for adequate training "is our responsibility," said Goss Graphic Systems chairman and CEO Robert Kuhn. "If it means a lost sale . . . it's a lost sale."
Goss is going back, he said, to the practice of erecting a customer's press at its factory and providing initial customer training there before shipping and re-erecting it in the customer's pressroom.
To "differentiate" themselves and their machines, said Kuhn, press makers "oversell our product" and "force technology on the customer."
Manufacturers, said Schmidt-Liermann, must build in reliability and do all they can to make their presses as easy to use as possible.
?(Making customers understand the need for adequate training "is our responsibility. If it means a lost sale . . . it's a lost sale.") [Caption]
?( ? Bob Kuhn, Goss Graphic Systems chairman and CEO) [Photo & Caption]
?("At least half" of what goes into quality printing and optimum operation is know-how, not equipment.) [Caption]
?(? Beau Campbell, Inland Newspaper Machinery Corp. president ) [Photo & Caption]
?(Good housekeeping and preventive maintenance are more important than ever.) [Caption]
?(? Helgi Schmidt-Liermann, MAN Roland Inc. CEO ) [Photo & Caption]

?( E&P Web Site:
?(copyaright: Editor & Publisher June 21, 1997)


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