Reducing Makeready Time

 R.O. Vandercook, The Inland Printer, August 1930

Any waste of human energy that can be eliminated and is not eliminated is an evidence that those in control of a business are not the most competent men.

A way has been found to eliminate the greatest waste of human energy in makeready in the pressroom. To this end, printing-press builders, typemakers, and engravers are cooperating. The first essential in eliminating waste time in makeready is to build the printing press with greater accuracy and rigidity. No matter how accurate the type forms and engravings may be, the benefits of accurate printing surfaces are largely lost if the printing press is uneven in its surfaces and the parts deflect under varying degrees of impression strain. The progressive press builders are finding ways to grind cylinders and bearings to closer and closer limits. They are finding ways to obtain rigidity under impression strain so that there need be less and less deflection of parts due to various degrees of impression strain.

Many large users of halftones will not now accept the old-time engravers’ proof taken on the old flat-impression Washington Hand Press with a special ink on special stock. The buyer of halftones is not interested in how skillfully a proofer may have taken the original proof. What he wants to know is, How will the engraving look when printed under average printing conditions? He also wants to know how much makeready time will be required to make the cut print properly on his own work. The photoengraver who can furnish him engravings that will print properly with the least amount of makeready time gets his business. This competition is producing engravings that will print with the minimum of work time on the producing presses. The fact that Monotype and Linotype can be produced with even surface that requires practically no makeready is bringing out a good, wholesome competition in typecasting machines and in training of operators in the proper care of the machine. More careful making and inspection of molds and mats, more careful attention to de- tails of metal, temperature, and general upkeep and cleanliness of machines, are achieving most excellent results in producing good presswork at lower costs.

There are now on the market inexpensive and accurate composing-room presses that will instantly, and without makeready, tell the printing qualities of any printing surface. In many progressive plants, the first proof is a test proof taken with the purpose of detecting imperfect printing surfaces as well as for typographical errors. It is just as wasteful to correct or change imperfect printing surfaces on the press as to correct typographical errors after the form has gone to press. These tests are made not on the form proof but on each separate page or unit before the form is locked up. If each page prints properly, the whole form will print if the producing press is kept in proper condition.

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