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Quality is a not a dirty word (Offset Print Quality Standards)

By on June 7, 2013 in Erwins Printing, Quality Assurance

Many in the industry will be familiar with stick it notes or cards sandwiched in between stacked sheets that have come off the printing press. Printers know that they are often used to segregate client samples or to mark quantity breaks. I recently asked one of the most senior printers why we don’t separate client samples as they come off the press and he looked at me with a blank stare. I then went and asked our Production Manager (who was running presses before The Beatles spilt up). “We don’t separate client samples, ” he said.

I went back to the factory and I took a closer look at the handwritten note sandwiched in between the sheets that said, “NBG.” “What’s that?” I asked. Steve (the printer) said it stands for “no bloody good!” He explained that if he finds sheets that are not of the highest quality he marks them. It becomes a flag for the next person in the production chain to inspect the sheet and other sheets around it. The inferior sheets are then removed.

“So can the client samples be taken from any part of the finished job?” Steve said, “yes.” In other words, every part of the job that leaves Erwins Printing is the best offset print quality it can possibly be because of the “NBG” quality process. The segregation of client samples is common in the industry because many printers don’t like to stop their presses. However, if a job is allowed to just run without constant supervision there can be offset issues, ghosting or pages not in registration.

I know that when we quote a job, we also include enough overs to cover “NBGs” and spoils in the finishing department, particularly if there is laminating , stitching or die cutting involved. Usually jobs go very well and we ship the overs of the finished job at no extra charge. Erwins Printing is price competitive but we are not always the “cheapest” … and for the reason outlined above, we wouldn’t want to be.

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