What are Different Types of Printing Press Operator Jobs?

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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
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Printing press operator jobs entail working with a traditional printing press or a digital printing company. Some of the traditional printing press operator jobs include working with cylinder presses, engraving presses or screen printing. Digital printing press operator jobs can include running photocopiers, offset duplicating machines and other devices that provide customers with copies of their own materials.

Printing press operator jobs can involve virtually all aspects of running the press, or the operator might do be assigned only one or two duties. Much of this depends on the size of the business and the total number of people that it employs to run the press. It also depends on the kind of work the business does and how busy it is.

Working with a traditional printing press requires more technical knowledge, because the equipment and inks have to be set very specifically for the printing to come out correctly. By contrast, digital printing involves putting images directly on paper or objects. An advantage of digital printing is that it tends to cost less than traditional printing. The images produced by digital printing, however, usually are not as crisp, and digital printing has a more limited range of color production.


One type of print press operator is a cylinder press operator. This role involves setting up and operating cylinder presses of various types and sizes. These presses often are used to print labels, envelopes and checks.

Among the other type of printing press operator jobs are those for running an engraving press, which often is used for decorative embellishments on greeting cards, wedding announcements or business cards. Another example of a printing press operator job is an offset press operator. This process is used to print using lithographic plates. It can be used for materials with one or more colors.

Web press operator jobs often involve setting up rotary presses that print books or newspapers, for example. The number of these jobs that are available has declined because of a reduction in the number of printed newspapers or magazines. Some publications have turned to other methods of printing that are less expensive, or they have decided to publish only online.

Digital press operators usually set up, operate and maintain machinery used for shorter printing jobs. Their work also often includes making sure that the appropriate paper is in stock and is stocked and organized for scheduled print jobs. A digital press operator also might be responsible for ensuring that work is delivered on time to clients.

Printing press operator jobs also can include assistant positions. These often are apprenticeship positions, with the assistants helping more experienced press operators. Duties of assistants can include cleaning and setting up the machinery.



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