Set and operate over-printing machinery

Business Sectors (Suites): Machine Printing
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 29 Feb 2020


This standard is for printing machine operators who set up and operate printing machinery designed to print onto a pre-made product.

It covers a range of printing processes, including screen printing, foiling, pad printing, thermal transfer, flexographic and gravure printing, usually printing a single colour at a time and with manual or semi-automatic feeding.

This standard may only be assessed in the workplace and simulation is not permitted.

This standard requires a printer to be able to set up and operate over-printing machinery. Examples of over-printing machines and the products typically printed by them include foil blocking machines, either hand-lever operated or converted platens,(covers, key fobs, stationery); screen printing machines (signs, clothing or ceramics); thermal transfer machines (mouse mats, door-signs, fridge magnets etc); pad printing (pens or other personalised small consumer items); gravure or flexo (corrugated cartons).

The printer needs to understand the printing process used by the machinery and the critical factors that affect the quality of print, which typically include impression pressure, ink characteristics, dwell time and temperature, depending on the process employed.

Practical ability must be demonstrated through the production of printed work of a commercial standard from the machine.

As well as making ready and running the machinery for particular jobs, the printer must also be able to identify and correct faults on the machine so that it prints to an acceptable quality.

Getting colour right when printing is one of the fundamental requirements of almost all printing processes, so the candidate must be able to understand colour reproduction and how to maintain consistency of colour throughout a print run where there is the risk of it changing.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Set up an over-printing machine for production

  1. comply with health and safety requirements and procedures at all times
  2. obtain specifications and requirements of the items to be produced following standard operating procedures
  3. obtain equipment and materials required to carry out the job following standard operating procedures
  4. check equipment is set up and in good working order following standard operating procedures and any manufacturer's instructions
  5. check all materials required are to specification and free from faults
  6. fit image carriers to machinery following standard operating procedures
  7. ink up printing units so that required colour strength is achieved
  8. make adjustments to the printing settings to achieve specifications and print quality
  9. report if circumstances prevent you from producing pass sheets to the required standard to the appropriate person(s)**

Run an over-printing machinery

10. check output from printing machines matches the 'pass' product and/or is within the tolerance of any standards established for printing within your company
11. make running adjustments to meet specifications
12. identify and correct problems which affect the quality of the image or reduce the rate of output *

Identify and correct faults on over-printing machinery

13. identify and correct faults which it is your job to rectify
14. report faults which are not your job to correct or are not corrected by the action you take
15. give constructive help to colleagues who are correcting faults on your machine
16. check machines are safe to operate, once faults are corrected.

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

The Law as it affects printing

  1. copyright and ownership of images
  2. forgery
  3. data protection**

Ethical issues relevant to printing

4. confidentiality

Health and safety

5. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific legislation covering your job role
6. manufacturer's health and safety requirements relevant to your job
7. how to stop a machine in the event of an emergency


8. with colleagues
9. with customers

Workplace policy and practice

10. workplace objectives, priorities, standards and procedures
11. the range of work carried out in the workplace

The identification and assessment of printing options

12. the stages in the printing process from pre-press to printed product

Time and resources

13. how to maximise productivity

The operation of equipment

14. the operation of the over-printing machinery that you use


15. the principles of the printing process that you use

The causes and treatment of common faults

16. raw material faults
17. processing faults
18. machine faults

Administrative procedures

19. recording and reporting
20. product labelling


21. any specific environmental legislation that covers processes in your company
22. control of pollution

Quality assurance and control

23. techniques for controlling quality
24. equipment for controlling quality in printing

Problem solving

25. sources of information
26. techniques for assessing machine faults


27. the types and characteristics of paper, board and other commonly used substrates
28. the types and characteristics of inks and coatings
29. maintaining the quality of materials during storage and handling

Cleaning, lubrication and maintenance

30. the principal activities involved with machine cleaning, lubrication and maintenance
31. roles and responsibilities for cleaning, lubrication and maintenance
32. machine faults and how they can be rectified
33. the maintenance plans for machines which you operate
34. which components wear or become degraded over time
35. the choice and use of suitable cleaning agents and lubricants
36. what parts of the machine you are allowed to clean, lubricate and maintain


37. the principal types of proof and their role in the printing process


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

28 Feb 2025





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Printers, Printing Machine Minders and Assistants, Printing Trades

SOC Code



The Law as it affects printing 1. copyright and ownership of images 2. forgery 3. data protection Ethical issues relevant to printing 4. confidentiality Health and safety 5. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific