Planning for a Smooth Install

OK, here we are. Your company has just ordered a brand new finishing system, and you’re excited as all get-out about getting this baby on the floor and operating. Your operators and maintenance people are pumped and ready-to-go. What could go wrong? Plenty.

Major (and even minor) successful finishing system installs require adequate pre-planning and some “course corrections” as things progress. Having been involved in many over the years, here’s my best advice:

Get the Details
Fortune favors those who plan ahead. Learn the power, compressed air, vacuum and special environmental requirements of the equipment as soon as the deal is sealed. This will give you enough time to alert any outside contractors you may need and schedule them in plenty of time. Plan the space for your new piece of gear carefully.

Ensure you have room for needed access, and to move the work to and from the new machine. Do a tape layout on the floor showing the machine’s dimensions. This will give you an idea of the workflow around the machinery.

Assemble (and Analyze) Your Team
Think long and hard about the operating requirements for your new piece of gear and the talent match you may have in your plant. Offset and digital systems may call for different skill sets. Lots of digital finishing systems can be made ready with wonderful color touch screens that will handle most machine settings. Offset gear may require much more skill with actual tools and different analytic and mechanical abilities.

Analyze the Required Workflow
I cannot tell you how many times I encountered a scenario where the required programming, impositions and document formats were not shared with the pre-press and IT folks. This caused needless delays with both installation, testing and production start-up and does not make your vendor very happy.

Don has worked in technical support, sales, engineering, and management during a career in both the commercial offset and digital finishing sectors. He is the North American representative for IBIS Bindery Systems, Ltd. of The United Kingdom.
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  • David Avery

    Amen – as a Trainer I have seen on-site training completely sabotaged by managers rotating people in and out of the sessions, pulling trainees out – "just for 5 minutes" which turns into an hour, and piling the job jackets (to be completed on OT tonight) in view so they are constantly thinking about how late they will have to work.
    We know what a good operator needs to know to make the machine work productively and profitably for you. Let us get your people so they can do their job.
    And maybe the attitude that training is a waste of time since they will quit soon is a part of the reason they will leave.