Make plates for lithographic printing

Business Sectors (Suites): Post Press
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 26 Feb 2021


This standard is for printers preparing and processing presensitised aluminium plates for lithographic printing.

This standard covers:

  • preparing plates, and
  • transferring images to plates using film
  • processing plates

It includes:

  • identifying the work you have to do
  • exposing plates
  • processing plates
  • checking the image created
  • cleaning and recharging the processor
  • correctly identifying, resolving or reporting faults.

When working with presensitised aluminium plates it is important to make sure that the films match with artwork elements and imposition, and the correct exposure values to produce required plate characteristics are:

  • complete
  • sharp and clean
  • the required resolution

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Prepare lithographic plates

  1. check that the job details you have are complete

  2. check that you have all the materials of the right type needed for the job

  3. match film(s) with artwork elements and imposition
  4. prepare exposure units so that they will produce desired outputs for each job
  5. handle and load plates in a safe manner in accordance with organisational procedures
  6. position plates so that all image elements fall on the finished plate
  7. select exposure values which produce the required plate characteristics after processing
  8. expose the assembly in line with manufacturer's requirements
  9. pass the plate for processing when it is ready
    Process lithographic plates

10. load the processor in line with manufacturer's instructions
11. *
**handle and load materials in a safe and efficient manner in accordance with organisational procedures
12. set and operate processor in a safe and efficient manner in accordance with organisational procedures
13. keep up the supply of developer/wash and gum throughout each run so that runs are not interrupted
14. check that finished plates meet your company's standard
15. rectify faults within your area of responsibility so that the run is not unnecessarily delayed
16. report faults and problems which it is not your job to rectify in accordance with organisational procedures
17. keep waste to a minimum and dispose of it in accordance with organisational procedures
18. report when the plate is ready for production in accordance with organisational procedures

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the types of plates in use in your company, and the types of job for which they are used
  2. how to check that plates are fit for use
  3. the range, use and limitations of processing materials and equipment
  4. your company's procedures for minimising waste
  5. why it is important to meet production deadlines
  6. the platemaking methods and equipment in use in your company
  7. what safe light conditions are
  8. the risks associated with operating the equipment
  9. how to set up and operate the equipment
  10. your company's waste disposal procedures
  11. your company's reporting procedures


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

31 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Printers, Printing Machine Minders and Assistants, Printing Trades

SOC Code



machine, printing down frame, printing plate, prepress, planographic, lithographic, plate development, publishing; artwork