Control the set-up of flat sheet digital colour printing machines

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


This standard is for printers with responsibility for flat sheet digital colour printing machines. The standard involves the set-up of the machine for printed work that meets the quality required by the customer with the minimum of waste materials. It applies, if you work in a studio, imaging bureau or digital printing environment and you are responsible for the operation of a production-scale digital colour printing machine. The operation of “office” digital printing machines does not apply


This standard covers the configuration and set up of 'production-scale' digital colour printing machines whether they are flat sheet large format or flat sheet-fed machines.


Modern digital colour printing machines have become extremely sophisticated, high speed devices capable of producing high quality print. Some toner and inkjet printers can now produce print that matches the conventional printing processes. Some digital printers also have a range of options for finishing 'in-line', ranging from a single staple of a collated set to a perfect bound book.


Practical ability must be demonstrated in setting up the machine to produce printed work to a commercially acceptable standard. This must be done on different substrates and covering a sufficient range of printed work to show full competence to set up a flat sheet digital colour printing machine. This should include a variety of different kinds of images, printing process colour and/or spot colours.


It is necessary to run calibration routines at required intervals, to ensure that the colour management system within the workflow is correctly used and, if necessary, make sure that the colour profiles for the printing machine are accurate. Often this will be checked with reference to known quality standards.


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. For documents sent directly to the printing machine from a computer, the inclusion (or omission) of a source or destination 'profile' in an image file and the selection in print dialogue boxes of colour matching or rendering options can make a dramatic difference to the colour output from the machine. The printer must also be able to undertake routine maintenance of the machine to ensure it prints to an acceptable quality.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Check file suitability for printed product

  1. check you have all the details required and approval to start work
  2. check you have enough materials of the right type for the job
  3. report to your manager, if the material provided is not correct or sufficient
  4. identify any post-printing requirements to meet specifications
  5. check machines and your work area are safe and ready for production
  6. preflight digital files for printing and check whether any source or destination colour profiles are embedded in documents
  7. set printer software to handle any colour profiles in the way required for the job

  8. deal with any incorrect embedded colour profiles following standard operating procedures

  9. set up print parameters for printers and job requirements, including any colour settings
  10. use settings to download and print digital job file(s) to digital printing machines
    Set up substrate transport system

11. select the appropriate substrate transport system to meet specifications
12. place substrate and sufficient make-ready sheets into feeders to meet specifications
13. set the front lays and side lay to meet specifications
14. test substrate transfer systems to confirm sheets run consecutively with no missed sheets or doubles

Set press to match pass sheet standard

15. check images are complete, colour accurate, free from contamination or other faults, and in register
16. check fonts, substrates, imposition, scaling and orientation meet specifications
17. check any duplexing or finishing options meet specifications
18. adjust machines or print download settings to achieve required job specifications and quality standards
19. report to your manager if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from producing a pass sheet to the required standard
20. obtain "pass sheets" that meets company standards
21. identify and rectify faults that occur with machines and consumables

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

Maintain digital colour printing machines in serviceable condition

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 issues relevant to printing


  1. confidentiality

health and safety


  1. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific legislation covering your job role
  2. working practices
  3. the way you actually do your job, more particularly the activities and techniques and the way that materials and equipment are used
  4. hazards and risks in your own job, their assessment and the action to take to deal with them
  5. manufacturer's and supplier's health and safety instructions / advice

the safe handling of customer material


  1. what kinds of customer materials are likely to be handled, including original photographs or artwork, samples, disks, raw materials for print or finishing
  2. techniques for protecting customer materials
  3. insurance
  4. the potential for loss or damage

security and storage


  1. computer system security and virus protection
  2. print with time-sensitive or restricted release dates
  3. high value products or print with a high risk of theft
  4. secure means of archiving digital and conventional artwork

communication with colleagues


  1. with customers
  2. with suppliers

workplace policy and practise


  1. workplace objectives, priorities, standards and procedures

the operation of equipment


  1. the set-up of digital communications equipment and software
  2. the operation of digital communications equipment and software



  1. the principles of digital printing

how to deal with digital files

  1. file conversion techniques
  2. file compression and decompression techniques the transmission of digital files
  3. file management

the causes and treatment of current faults


  1. raw material faults
  2. processing faults machine faults


administrative procedures


  1. planning
  2. scheduling
  3. recording and reporting
  4. product labelling



  1. the legal requirements for the classification, storage, carriage and disposal of waste

quality assurance and control


  1. the main features of quality assurance and quality control systems techniques for controlling quality
  2. equipment for controlling quality in printing
  3. light standards for viewing and assessing colour print

problem solving


  1. types of problems that may need to be solved
  2. sources of information
  3. techniques for solving complex problems
  4. techniques for assessing machine faults



  1.  the types and characteristics of paper, board and other commonly used substrates: the range of commonly used uncoated, coated, embossed papers and boards; grammage, thickness, opacity, brightness/whiteness, strength, dimensional stability, gloss
  2. the types and characteristics of inks, toners and coatings
  3. maintaining the quality of materials during storage and handling

cleaning, lubrication and maintenance


  1. the principal activities involved with machine cleaning, lubrication and maintenance
  2. roles and responsibilities for cleaning, lubrication and maintenance
  3. machine faults and how they can be rectified
  4. the maintenance plans for machines which you operate which components wear or become degraded over time
  5. what is meant by the phrase 'safe system of work' and how it applies to cleaning, lubrication and maintenance activities
  6. the choice and use of suitable cleaning agents and lubricants
  7. what parts of the machine you are allowed to clean, lubricate and maintain
  8. preventive v. predictive maintenance

56. 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 2025





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Printing Machine Minders and Assistants, Printing Trades

SOC Code



Master Printer; Print Management; Print Production; Processes and Engineering Management