In a few words, describe the position you occupy here.

Maxime: I’m in charge of label production operations on the Aquaflex 10’’ 6-color press.

As press controls are becoming more and more digital, why do we still need press operators?

Maxime: Activating the press isn’t a press operator’s only task. The press also has to be prepared and needs to be checked regularly. The colors of a press aren’t standard like those of a desktop printer. Each run requires color adjustments. The colors also need to be inserted and removed in order to ensure that the quality, density and viscosity of the ink are adequate. The anilox cylinders and cutting cylinders also need to be changed according to the client’s needs.

So it requires precision and patience?

Maxime: Absolutely! There are several factors that can influence printing quality, such as the effects of the elements (water, humidity, UV rays, etc.) on ink. At the end of the day what we want is perfection. This is one of the biggest advantages of what we do here at IMS.

What are some other qualities of a press operator? 

Maxime: You have to be a perfectionist, attentive and resourceful. You need to enjoy learning.

What do you enjoy most about the flexographic press?

Maxime: What I enjoy is the final label. In other words, the end result. We’re always proud of the results when we did a good job.

Industry studies, important or a waste of time?

Maxime: Very important! Even if what we learn in school doesn’t always apply, it’s still an excellent base. And it can always be useful!

In 2008, the Quebec Graphic Communications Sector Workforce Committee, with the support of Emploi Québec, developed standards for the profession of flexographic press operator in order to more efficiently organise the training of its specialists. The job of a press operator is hard and physical and employees are often few and far between. This is why employment opportunities in this sector are numerous.

Companies are less and less made up of employees who learn “on the job.” Technology is becoming more complex and presses require more extensive knowledge. Those employees who are trained and experienced are preferred over those with less experience and knowledge. For those who are attracted to the profession…

… but have no printing experience, we suggest:

College-level training in Printing Techniques (Ahuntsic College)

… and have experience on another type of press, we suggest:

Development of flexographic techniques (The Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications)

… and for those who prefer learning in a company without returning to school, we suggest:

Workplace learning program (Emploi Québec)