Control numbering, bar-coding or inline data printing equipment

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


This standard is for people who manage and have overall responsibility for numbering, bar-coding or inline data printing equipment. The numbering equipment may be conventional numbering 'clocks' or 'blocks' or ink-jet, thermal or laser technology.

Numbering, bar-coding, as well as the addition of batch information and variable personal data to printed material is very common in the printing industry. From gaming tickets through stationery and packaging to direct mail, the range of printed products which now contain such information is huge.

Mechanical numbering 'blocks' which print sequential numbering series can be found on letterpress machines and mechanical numbering 'clocks' which perform a similar operation are found on many small offset lithographic machines or on standalone numbering machines.

Over the last decade, an increasing number of programmable impact and non-impact devices have emerged to print data onto substrates. Impact printers typically have a 'foil' ribbon from which the foil coating is transferred to the printed product when it is struck by the print head. Non-impact printers include ink-jet units, which are capable of printing at high speed onto moving substrates, and thermal print heads that require thermal sensitive substrates or transfer ribbons in order to produce an image. These digital driven devices are programmed by a computer or by a touchscreen or keyboard supplied by the device manufacturer.

Commercially available numbering software is also increasingly common, and these programmes are capable of setting up complex sequential numbering in multiple positions on a sheet for subsequent printing to a laser or ink-jet printer. This standard may be used for operators of such software providing the numbering is sequential, not static.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Manage numbering, bar-coding or non-impact printing equipment

  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. monitor make ready progress making sure tasks are completed and are undertaken using safe systems of work
  7. assist members of the team and make sure any problems are resolved
  8. adjust equipment as necessary to meet specifications and quality standards
  9. monitor numbering, bar-coding or non-impact equipment ensuring all elements are functioning
    Maintain the quality of numbering, bar-coding or non-impact printing during production

10. manage the team in a way that checks good quality and productivity
11. check output meets specifications
12. identify and correct problems which affect quality
13. monitor the safe operation of numbering, bar-coding or non-impact equipment following standard operating procedures
14. identify and correct numbering, bar-coding or non-impact equipment faults which it is your job to rectify
15. remove waste following standard operating procedures
16. record the production and quality assurance details

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

The Law as it affects printing

  1. data protection
    Ethical Issues relevant to printing

2. confidentiality

Health and Safety

3. your legal duties for health and safety in the workplace as defined by the relevant health and safety legislation
4. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific legislation covering your job role
5. workplace policies and procedures
6. working practices
7. hazards and risks in the workplace, their assessment and the action to take to deal with them
8. hazards and risks in your own job, their assessment and the action to take to deal with them - including relevant regulations on the safe handling of equipment and materials
9. manufacturer's health and safety requirements relevant to your job
10. personal protective equipment used
11. how to stop machinery in the event of an emergency


12. how to communicate with colleagues
13. how to communicate with customers
14. how to communicate with suppliers

Workplace policy and practice

15. workplace objectives, priorities, standards and procedures
16. range of work carried out in the workplace
17. working practices existing in the workplace
18. key job roles within the printing and graphic communications industry and their main purposes

The identification and assessment of printing options

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

Time and Resources

20. different types of resources, including labour, materials, machinery
21. relationship between resource usage and profitability
22. how to maximise productivity
23. relationship between productivity and competitiveness

The operation of equipment

24. principles of barcode construction, including the use of 'check' digits
25. risks associated with ink drying units and how to avoid them
26. your company's safety procedures for numbering, bar-coding or non-impact inline printing equipment
27. common faults which can occur when operating numbering, bar-coding or non-impact inline printing equipment, what causes them and how to correct them


28. principles of impact and non-impact numbering and inline data printing

The causes and treatment of common faults

29. processing faults
30. machine faults

Administrative procedures

  1. recording and reporting
  2. product labelling**


33. briefing techniques
34. business improvement techniques


35. legal requirements for the classification, storage, carriage and disposal of waste
36. environmental legislation that covers processes in your company
37. role of statutory authorities/agencies
38. control of pollution

Quality Assurance and Control

39. main features of quality assurance and quality control systems
40. techniques for controlling quality, including inspection, testing, sampling, use of input and output controls
41. equipment for controlling quality in barcode production

Problem Solving

42. types of problems that may need to be solved
43. sources of information
44. techniques for solving complex problems
45. techniques for assessing machine faults


46. types and characteristics of paper, board and other commonly used substrates
47. types and characteristics of ink and coatings
48. how to maintain the quality of materials during storage and handling


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



machines; printing; lithographic; equipment; flexographic; operate; maintain; inks; coatings;