Flexo Press Make-Ready
Flexo Press Make-Ready

Makeready is defined as the time period occurring between the completion of one job and to the point where acceptable print quality is achieved with the next job. During makeready, many activities can take place including changing plates, changing inks, and making press adjustments such as proper registration and ink density to achieve acceptable print quality. This step may be a major source of waste from the printer's point of view as the press will be consuming input materials (e.g., paper, other substrates, ink, coatings) while not producing saleable product. Makeready times can last from a few minutes to many hours. Makeready can be conducted at low speeds or at press production speeds.

Best Management Practices & Pollution Prevention

Makeready waste represents more than simply the unmarketable printed substrate. From a broader perspective, makeready waste includes the energy; press time, human resources and raw materials used to generate the pre-production printed substrate, and should also encompass the costs for waste disposal. Although makeready is a necessary step in preparing a press for production, all the materials and work that is consumed, and even the resulting printed products, are wastes. Steps taken to make the print process more predictable and repeatable, can have a tremendous impact on raw material costs, equipment efficiency, and waste-disposal costs. Minimizing makeready is essential for profitable printing.

Substrate represents the largest supply item that a printer buys and, along with labor and wasted press time, is one of the most expensive components of this work. The substrate wasted during makeready is frequently the largest source of waste for a printer. Having efficient, repeatable procedures for reaching quick registration and color matching, and operators who consistently apply the procedures best minimizes makeready waste.

Both in makeready and printing operations, printers need to know how much waste substrate is generated relative to the quality of acceptable product. One method that can be used is to weigh discarded substrate and express the weight of waste as a percent of total substrate used. Press counters are available, but under some circumstances, such as when a jam occurs on the press and the counter is not turned off, the count may be inaccurate.

For access to vendors who may supply alternative materials and equipment, see the PNEAC Vendor Directory.

Environmental Regulations

There are no specific regulations that apply to makeready. All of the regulations that would apply to the pressroom and the facility would also apply during makeready. For example, the Clean Air Act and requirements in any operating permit that may have been issued to the facility regulate the air pollution emissions released during makeready. Wastewater discharges are regulated by the Clean Water Act and any discharge permit that may have been issued to the printers or local any local discharge limits imposed by the sewer authority. Any waste generated needs to be evaluated to determine if it is hazardous or not and the proper management and disposal practices must be observed.