According to Focus Label Machinery, now might be the time to relook at your maintenance programme. Keeping your printing press well maintained doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. By following a few simple guidelines, you can minimise your lifetime printing press repair bill and keep it operating at maximum efficiency.

During the pandemic, manufacturers of equipment have been under pressure to reduce stock levels of parts and spares for their older equipment, often leaving end users with reduced levels of support. Some manufacturers have taken the decision that they will no longer provide service or parts for equipment long since out of production. Some specialist parts such as electrical control boards can no longer be found or are uneconomic to repair.

For current technology, the situation is little better. In recent months the ability to source even the most basic of spare part normally available within days has become critical with lead times now stretching to several weeks or months. This is putting a tremendous strain on the service and supply chain.

Keeping your printing press clean and well lubricated is the very basic maintenance activity that can be done in-house on a regular basis. You can also keep stock on hand of the most important consumables and parts that you may need in the event of a breakdown. Having a stock of critical parts available allows you to replace troublesome parts without having to wait for a supplier delivery.

Just like a car, a printing press requires regular maintenance in order to keep it operating in tip-top shape. You wouldn’t ignore servicing a car so why wait until your press is broken before taking any action? Spotting potential running issues is a skill that requires all your senses. Listening for damaged bearings, gears, a vibration and look for a mark or line in the print. An unusual sound may indicate a potential issue just around the corner. Take action early.

Ensuring that you always have stock of the most critical parts used by your printing press can save you a lot of money. When your printing press is not running because of a failed component, it is not generating any revenue. Often suppliers need some lead time in order to deliver the required parts, which can mean longer downtime. By having stock parts, especially consumables items, on hand, you can eliminate this problem completely and resume printing operations with as small a delay as possible.

The cost of carrying stock is often negated by the savings in reduced downtime. This alone makes it worth your while to stock up on critical parts. Contact your machine supplier for a list of common spares for that particular press, highlight the critical ones to you, and invest in them.

One of the biggest reasons for high repair bills is the neglect of routine maintenance. We would suggest a regular, once weekly time slot is put aside for press clean downs. Each machine should have a maintenance book to record and highlight problems as they happen for the attention of maintenance the following week. By regularly servicing your printing press and performing routine maintenance, you can reduce the risk of running into a serious and costly breakdown.

Just cleaning dust and ink spills from critical areas, checking your drying systems and condition of transport rolls, impression rolls, greasing bearings and gears will save downtime. A well-maintained printing press will also be more efficient and deliver better quality prints. If you ensure that your printing press is well maintained your bottom line will thank you in the long run.