Here at instantprint, we love learning more about the people behind the print. This time, we shone the spotlight on Paul, our Litho Team Leader, to get the lowdown on what his day-to-day role looks like, why training up his team is the highlight of his job and what technological print advancements he’s excited for.
When did you start working at instantprint?
I started working at instantprint in July 2014 on the old four colour and coat Komori Lithorone – an old Japanese press that was part of the business when we were based in Magna.
What does your role involve?
In a nutshell: I make sure our Lithographic presses run smoothly. This involves everything from maintenance planning, training operators in line with our company values, selecting materials to use, a lot of problem solving and colour management.
There’s never a boring day! On the Lithographic stream you have to be two steps ahead. Each press holds 8 plates which need swapping per job, paper also needs to be changed to reflect customer orders and the quality needs to be checked.
I also work closely with our suppliers, Heidelberg and Kodak. We have four Heidelbergs here; two XL106, a 102 and XL75 – they’re basically very big printing presses that take up the same floor space as an average UK house! Kodak supplies all the plates for each Heidelberg press.
How does your role fit into the journey of an instantprint customer’s print?
If all is running smoothly – I would rarely come in direct contact with a specific order. However, all the work I do ensures that every order that passes through the Litho stream is of the highest standard and quality. If we do encounter any issue, it’s my job to understand why things didn’t go as expected and rectify any issues to prevent future problems.
When we have four presses averaging 30-40 jobs each, per 12 hour shift, that’s a lot of print jobs to manage!
What makes you proud about working at instantprint?
We have a real focus on kit, people and wellbeing which makes it exciting place to be – a place where the company is just as excited as you are for the future of print. I’ve been in the print industry for the past 30 years, and have never seen the kind of growth we have here at instantprint. It’s incredible and I’m proud to be part of it. And what’s a bonus, I’m Yorkshire born and bred, so being able to be part of such an innovative company on my doorstep is amazing.
I also personally love when the team I’ve trained up on the presses start showing me the different ways we can solve problems. It means they’re thinking about our process and have a good knowledge of how the kit should work.
What’s the most exciting technology or change you’ve seen the way print is produced?
We’ve recently introduced Low Energy Ultra Violet (LE-UV) on all presses. When the ink comes in contact with UV rays it cures, which is a chemical reaction, and turns the ink into a polymer instantly. Using this kind of ink ensures that our finishing and dispatch teams can take on jobs immediately without any drying time, which in turn means our customers get their print even quicker!
What do you do in your downtime?
Exercise! Crossfit. Open water swimming. Mountain biking. Paddle boarding. I can’t sit still for long and when I do it’s because there’s a cold pint to knock back.
Got a question about our lithographic printing stream? Fire it over to us on Twitter by tagging us #instantprintuk.