Control output and quality from gravure units on a multi-unit gravure press

Business Sectors (Suites): Machine Printing
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 30 Mar 2020


This standard is for printers with responsibility for running web fed gravure presses. The standard involves the production of printed work which meets the quality required by the customer with the minimum of wasted materials and achieving the productivity levels required by the company. The construction of the machine should be that it prints two or more colours in a single pass. It includes the running of such machines, including the identification and correction of associated print faults, whether they are caused by machine or materials.


Multi-unit gravure printing machines have many possible configurations and features. This standard requires a machine operator to be able to print multi-colour print on multiple-unit presses. The printer must have a full working knowledge of multi-unit presses. Practical ability must be demonstrated in producing printed work to a commercially acceptable standard, with consistency throughout the run, on different substrates and covering a sufficient range of printed work to show full competence as a multi-colour gravure printer. This should include a variety of different kinds of images. The printer must be able to print four-colour process work and/or combined spot colours.


The printer must be able to check and assess the quality of print under correct viewing conditions against an approved proof and make whatever adjustments are necessary to the press to achieve and maintain the quality required. On more modern machines, integral colour control hardware and software is installed, allowing the printer to check continually that ink viscosity, ink densities, dot measurements or spectral colour meet recognised standards and/or are consistent with an approved 'pass sheet'.

The printer is required to be familiar with colour standards and how such standards are maintained. If equipment for this purpose is in use in the company, then the gravure printer must be capable of operating and understanding it.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Maintain the quality of output from gravure printing units

  1. confirm you have authority to commence production
  2. run gravure printing machines at the optimum speed, achieving the required standard
  3. check output matches the pass sheet, making adjustments where necessary
  4. run required number of good copies, keeping spoiled material to a minimum  following standard operating procedures
  5. identify or remove any sub-standard printed matter from the finished work following standard operating procedures
  6. report to your manager if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from achieving the required quantity or quality of printed copies
  7. remove waste following current legislation
  8. record the production and quality assurance details required
    Identify and rectify print problems

9. Identify and correct the cause of machine problems that affect the quality of images and reduce the rate of output
10. Identify and correct the cause of consumable problems that affect the quality of images and reduce the rate of output
11. Identify machine parts that may require replacing and make sure that such parts are available when required
12. Identify maintenance that needs to be carried out on the machine and make sure that it is brought to the attention of the person in your company who will schedule it in the production plans

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

The law as it affects printing

  1. defamation
  2. copyright and ownership of images
  3. obscenity
  4. incitement
  5. forgery
  6. data protection
  7. the printers imprint
    Ethical and employment issues relevant to printing

8. confidentiality

Health and safety

9. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific legislation covering your job role
10. workplace policies and procedures
11. working practices
12. hazards and risks in the workplace, their assessment and the action to take to deal with them
13. hazards and risks in your own job, their assessment and the action to take to deal with them
14. manufacturers' and suppliers' health and safety instructions / advice
15. how to stop a machine in the event of an emergency

Security and storage

16. print with time-sensitive or restricted release dates
17. high value products or print with a high risk of theft


18. how to communicate with colleagues
19. how to communicate with suppliers

Workplace policy and practice

20. workplace objectives, priorities, standards and procedures
21. the range of work carried out in the workplace
22. the working practices existing in the workplace

The identification and assessment of printing options

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

Time and resources

24. the different types of resource, including labour, materials, machinery
25. the relationship between resource usage and profitability
26. how to maximise productivity

The operation of equipment

27. the operation of multi-unit gravure printing machines


28. the principles of gravure

The causes and treatment of common faults

29. raw material faults
30. processing faults
31. machine faults

Administrative procedures

32. scheduling
33. recording and reporting
34. product labelling




  1. the legal requirements for the classification, storage, carriage and disposal of waste
  2. any specific environmental legislation that covers processes in your company
  3. control of pollution
    Quality assurance and control

38. the main features of quality assurance and quality control systems
39. techniques for controlling quality
40. equipment for controlling quality in printing
41. light standards for viewing and assessing colour print

Problem solving

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


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


48. 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

30 Mar 2020





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Printing Machine Minders and Assistants, Printing Trades

SOC Code



machines; printing; lithographic; equipment; flexographic; operate;