Set up and control guillotines

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


This standard is for print finishers using guillotine machinery. They will be expected to control the equipment whilst running production jobs.

This standard consists of two elements:

  • Set up programmatic guillotines
  • Run programmatic guillotines and monitor quality

This is what the standard covers:

  1. identifying the job requirements
  2. checking that the guillotine is working properly
  3. checking that safety devices are working properly
  4. running the guillotine safely
  5. adjusting settings, where necessary to maintain the required standard
  6. checking that work meets the required standard
  7. identifying faults and taking action to deal with them
  8. unloading and stacking the finished product

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Set up programmatic guillotines

  1. check that the daily check-list has been completed and that guards are in place and operating
  2. check that you have all the job details you need
  3. check that you have enough materials of the right type
  4. report when materials provided are not correct or sufficient in accordance with organisational procedures
  5. assess whether work should be cut using an existing programmed cutting sequence or using a newly created programmed cutting sequence by setting the back fence manually for each cut
  6. set up the guillotine so that:
    required cut size(s) is(are) produced with minimum handling
    cuts are clean, square and positioned in accordance with organisational requirements
    clamp pressure does not cause marking or set-off

  7. check that samples produced by machine match the required standard

  8. report when standards cannot be met
  9. prepare your work area so that it is safe and ready for production in accordance with organisational procedures

    **Run programmatic guillotines and monitor quality

10. run guillotine machinery so that it is safe and efficient and at the required speed in accordance with organisational procedures
11. keep up sufficient supplies of materials so that runs continue as long as necessary to meet job requirements
12. check at regular intervals that your company's quality standards are met
13. identify faults in production which result in:
cut work being out of square or under or over size
cut edges not smooth
unacceptable size variation from top to bottom of the stack
marking of material from clamp or sheets becoming trapped under the back fence during forward travel

  1. adjust machines, using approved methods and equipment, to deal with faults in production
  2. use agreed procedures to change blades and ancillary items and check the machine is safe to operate before reuse
  3. adjust machines, using approved methods and equipment, to correct faults which it is your job to remedy
  4. use agreed procedures to report faults which it is not your job to correct
  5. check that the machinery is safe to operate, once faults have been corrected
  6. record the production and quality assurance details, checking information meets organisational procedures
  7. follow the organisational procedures for the removal of waste
  8. stack work using the approved method

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. your duties and responsibilities for health and safety as defined by any specific legislation covering your job role
  2. regulations such as those covering manual handling, noise at work, personal protective equipment, safe handling of equipment and materials, and the safe use of computer equipment
  3. workplace policies and written operating procedures relating to written health and safety policy statement, provision, use and processes of workplace equipment, training, prohibited equipment, young persons, safe systems of work
  4. the way you actually do your job, more particularly the activities and techniques and the way that materials and equipment are used
  5. typical hazards and risks in the printing industry and those that relate to your own job
  6. risk assessment techniques and the action to take to deal with them
  7. codes of practice relevant to your role and where to obtain information on them
  8. manufacturers' and suppliers' health and safety instructions and advice for operating machinery, guarding machinery and data sheets for substances harmful to health
  9. the requirements for personal presentation including personal hygiene, suitable clothing and accessories, fitness for work, such as not under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication, smoking policies in the workplace
  10. how to stop a machine in the event of an emergency
  11. the purpose of guillotining
  12. the information and materials required to meet job specification
  13. safety devices found on guillotines, their purpose and how to check they are functional
  14. how to set up and adjust guillotines to meet job requirements
  15. the causes of common faults and how to rectify them including cut work being out of square or under or over size, cut edges not smooth, unacceptable size from top to bottom of the stack, marking of material from clamp or sheets becoming trapped under the back fence during forward travel
  16. the causes of faults with raw materials, processes and machinery used in your business and how to identify and treat them
  17. techniques for controlling quality including inspection, testing, sampling and use of input and output controls
  18. the impact that faults, in the process you are involved with, have on later processes and the quality of the end product
  19. types of problems that may need to be solved including machinery - electrical, mechanical, electronic, settings, component wear and tear, consumables needing replacement, materials - defects, shortages, incompatibility, systems, organisation and lack of skills or knowledge
  20. sources of information for solving problems including manufacturer's documentation / troubleshooting guides, colleagues, tutors / trainers / mentors and reference material – in house or external, such as the internet
  21. techniques for assessing machine faults including observation, listening, inspection of product, reports from colleagues / log reports, touch or smell (if safe to do so) and testing, such as electrical, mechanical, electronic
  22. the types of paper, board and other commonly used substrates including uncoated, coated, embossed papers and boards
  23. the grammage, thickness, opacity, brightness/whiteness, strength, dimensional stability, gloss of paper, board and other commonly used substrates
  24. how to maintain the quality of materials and protect them from damage, humidity and temperature during storage and handling
  25. how to label and identify materials


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



post press, print finishing, machinery, guillotines