Press Operator Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Press Operator, or Machine Press Operator, runs computer-controlled machines that cut, shape and design various materials. Their main duties include troubleshooting machines for any malfunctions or irregularities, fixing machine parts as needed to ensure they operate properly and conducting quality checks on the machines.

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Press Operator Duties and Responsibilities

The following are the duties and responsibilities expected of a Press Operator:

  • Reviewing job orders to make the right adjustments to the printing machine
  • Installing parts and supplies such as ink rollers, screens, printing plates and stencils according to the job specifications and blueprints
  • Testing inks and paints on the printing surface to determine suitability
  • Handling production of the printed materials, including the printing and racking process, to ensure it meets the specifications and is ready on schedule
  • Performing maintenance tasks on the printing machine
  • Troubleshooting equipment issues such as creaking noises, etc.
  • Cleaning the printing press and peripherals

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Press Operator Job Description Examples

What Does A Press Operator Do?

A Press Operator repairs, runs and operates a printing press and is in charge of the entire production of printed materials from start to finish. They load the press with paper and ink and will add any updates or repairs as needed. Press Operators work to finish their projects by their respective deadlines and must follow safety guidelines. These help to ensure they keep themselves and others safe throughout the machine operation or repair process. 

Press Operators are essential team members because they ensure the smooth running of the printing press, which can lead to a satisfying final product for customers to enjoy.

Press Operator Skills and Qualifications

To excel at their duties, a Press Operator should have the following skills and qualifications:

  • In-depth understanding of basic printing technologies
  • Excellent physical strength and stamina
  • Excellent time-management skills
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Strong attention to detail

Press Operator Salary Expectations

Press Operators earn $14.57 per hour on average. This estimate is based on submissions from Indeed users who have worked as Press Operators in the past, who are currently Press Operators or who employ Press Operators. Salary expectations can vary based on the hiring organization, the location of the organization, your level of experience in the industry or your negotiating power. 

Press Operator Education and Training Requirements

The minimum education requirement for a Press Operator is a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED). However, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in print technology will be useful. Generally, on-the-job training is provided for this position, but there are professional organizations that certify Press Operators. One of them is the Flexographic Technical Association, which offers online programs that cover pressroom safety, troubleshooting, inks and fingerprinting.

Press Operator Experience Requirements

An experienced Press Operator will have a minimum of one year’s experience working in a printing facility. They should have a proven record of producing high-quality printed materials on schedule and to client specifications. An experienced Press Operator should be comfortable working long shifts and carrying out physically exerting tasks. They should be familiar with installing different parts of the press such as rollers, plates and feed guides and adjusting them to get desired results. 

A Press Operator should also be experienced in record keeping, as they will need to maintain records of work produced, printing supplies and routine maintenance.

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Frequently asked questions about Press Operators

 

Who does a Press Operator report to?

Press Operators typically work on a team within the facility, so many of them may report directly to a Supervisor or Senior Press Operator for their daily job duties or weekly schedules. They may also approach their Supervisor with any complex questions regarding the maintenance of a machine. These supervisors will answer their questions and provide guidance on how to solve these problems. 

Press Operators are responsible for following set policies, guidelines and safety regulations when handling machine press equipment. If they’re unable to follow these rules, they may receive warnings or disciplinary actions from their Supervisor or the Senior Press Operator.

 

What settings do Press Operators typically work in?

Press Operators usually work in factories or manufacturing plants. Their work setting is usually fast-paced and requires Press Operators to complete their job responsibilities quickly and efficiently. They spend a majority of their shift on their feet, having to stand or walk for long periods at a time as they repair various machines. They may also have to travel throughout the facility, carrying large items that could weigh up to 40 pounds. 

Since the factory or plant will typically contain heavy machinery and large pieces of equipment, Press Operators may also have to spend their time here wearing protective gear, like steal-toe boots, earplugs, heavy gloves and goggles. 

 

What's the difference between a Press Operator and a Machine Operator?

Though there are some key similarities between a Press Operator and a Machine Operator, they are still two different job titles. A Machine Operator is a more general position, as they’re typically qualified to operate various types of machinery, like rolling, construction, drilling, milling and moving machines. They may work in a factory or plant operating several pieces of machinery or they can specialize in one type of machinery. 

Press Operators are a type of Machine Operator that specialize in operating, repairing and maintaining machine press equipment. They’re typically only qualified to work on this one type of machinery, while Machine Operators are trained to use all kinds of machines. 

 

What makes a good Press Operator?

A strong Press Operator should have impressive dexterity, since they use tools to repair and maintain Machine Press equipment. They should also be detail-oriented to identify any areas of the machines that need fixed or adjusted. Great Press Operator candidates should also posses sound teamwork abilities since they’ll regularly be collaborating on a team of other Press Operators as well.

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