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Oct 1, 2012 12:00 AM

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Tools, training and these tips can help

Troubleshooting Lithographic printing problems is a difficult task on all days

that end in “y.” There are at least 125 variables on a single-color printing press. Also, even a 30X loupe combined with 30 years of pressroom experience won’t necessarily help you identify the problem. Looks can be deceiving. Only testing will reveal the root of the problem.

Troubleshooting requires knowledge as well as the proper tools and instruments. Look at the library of publications from the National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL) as well as those from Printing Industries of America. And don’t overlook the excellent ink and coating guides available from your vendors. Finally, consider the educational programs at associations, colleges and trade shows, such as Graph Expo.


  1. Look at the sheets/signature under 30X and 100X magnifications.
  2. Look at the samples under 5000K lighting with at least 180 ft. candles of light in a quiet room.
  3. Take a deep breath and take your time. Do not make fast decisions.
  4. Look to the reference texts—someone else probably had the same problem. There are very few unique problems!
  5. Involve your suppliers and people—you do not know it all and never will.

Happy troubleshooting!

Ray Prince
President, GreensheetBIZ
a division of OutputLinks Communications Group
Talk to Ray at