Control output and quality from web fed 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 running web fed digital colour printing machines. 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.


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. Often, web fed digital colour printing machines form part of hybrid machines where both digital and flexographic printing processes are used. This is common in the label market.


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 digital colour web fed 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 machine 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 spectral colour values 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 digital printer must be capable of operating and understanding it

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Maintain the quality of output from web fed digital colour printing machines

  1. Check you have authority to commence production
  2. Run web fed digital colour printing machines achieving the required standard
  3. check that output matches pass sheets, making adjustments where necessary
  4. Run required number of good copies, keeping spoiled material to a minimum to meet specifications
  5. Identify or remove any sub-standard printed matter from 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


  1. Identify and correct the cause of machine problems that affect the quality of images and reduce rate of output
  2. Identify and correct the cause of consumable problems that affect the quality of images and reduce rate of output
  3. Identify machine parts that may require replacing and make sure that such parts are available when required
  4. 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:

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

8. confidentiality

health and safety

9. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific legislation covering your job role

  1. working practices

  2. the way you actually do your job, more particularly the activities and techniques and the way that materials and equipment are used

  3. hazards and risks in your own job, their assessment and the action to take to deal with them

  4. 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 practice


  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 common 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



  1. 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