by R.O. Vandercook,
To the Editor: CHICAGO, ILL., November 6, 1914.
The correspondence from J. H. S. in the August number of THE INLAND PRINTER, and the reply to the same by Aime H. Cote in the November issue, is mighty good reading.
It is my opinion that J. H. S. is right when he intimates that entirely too much time is consumed in many offices on the make-ready of all-type, or nearly all-type, forms.
It is also my opinion that Mr. Cote is right when he intimates that the pressman is not always to blame for the time required to perfect the job.
Let us assume that every pressman has a high grade of intelligence and an honest desire to do the best day’s work for the best day’s pay and will do all he can to give his employer the maximum of output from the press. This is, lamentably, not the case, but we have to start from some premises in order to reach worthwhile conclusions.
On the assumption that the human factor is a constant, let us look at the machine factor in the production:
Here are some facts:
You can not transfer a make-ready from one press to another and get results.
You can not take a make-ready off a press and put it aside for several months and gain time by putting it back again on the same press in case of a repeat order.
A new press that is stiff on its impression, with no wear from long runs, will respond to a much lighter make-ready than a press which, from use, has developed a spring in parts of the bed or wear on the tracks and rollers supporting the bed.
Any press doing miscellaneous work is bound to wear unevenly. The wear may only amount to the thickness of tissue paper, but that wear must be corrected by make-ready on a Strictly first-class job, and a first-class pressman can detect the error and will always remedy it by make-ready.
The most feasible remedy for excessive time in make-ready is to give more time in keeping the press itself in good tune, so that it will respond at all times as nearly as possible, like a new press.
In one of the largest pressrooms in the world, where there are rows and rows of the best flat-bed presses, enough of them to keep a printing-press machinist employed, they have test forms of solid, small type the full size of the presses. These forms are used as gages for setting the presses. These perfect type-high forms will tell immediately where all the soft spots are in the bed. No instrument for measuring printing pressure on various parts of the bed can tell the true condition of the press as accurately; besides, the use of pressure gages may take hours to tell the approximate condition of the press, while a sheet pulled from an accurate type-high form will tell, as soon as the sheet can be held to the light, just where the defects in the press are. Of course, the most even and hard tympan must be used for these test forms. With the test form on it is easy to set the cylinder just right. A strip of tissue paper on the bearers will show whether the cylinder is properly down. Begin with rather a light set, and lower until the paper on the bearers is held tight while the cylinder is full on the impression.
If any of the modern presses do not show a fairly even impression all over the test form, it is time for the machinist to get busy and not the pressman. Of course, the pressman may help the situation where the defects from wear are small by putting a “ permanent ” make-ready on down close to the cylinder.
The longer a slightly worn bearing or track is left, the more rapid becomes the wear, and the whole machine suffers in consequence, and the bigger will be your repair bills. A few dollars spent in correcting a defect as soon as it appears will save dollars in make-ready time, as well as lengthening the life and keeping up the quality of work of the machine.