Monday, May 27, 2024

Technical paper on safety aspects of printing machinery and standardization

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safety aspects of printing machinery
L to R: Rajneesh Khosla, Scientist ‘F’/ senior director and head (MED), BIS; Lokraj Meena, scientist ‘B’/assistant director, MED, BIS; and Harjinder Singh, chairman, education and training, AIFMP

Introduction to printing

Printing is supposed to be the most innovative invention of mankind amongst all inventions which have helped in transforming humans to build the modern society we are living in today. In fact, printing can be also termed the mother of all inventions and technologies because printing helped to secure knowledge by printing all documents and spreading them to the masses and also secured the technology and knowledge for the future. Printing has been used to transfer not only itself but it has also helped in transferring knowledge to people through centuries and thereby helped in developing all modern technologies that we are using today. The development of modern society is solely the product of transferring knowledge and creating systems like a printed currency which helped in creating systems/policies to actually run the world. Printing is not just technology; it’s also an art. The combined effect of technology and art can be seen through the influence printing puts on our daily lives and today we cannot live our day without printing.

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Definition of printing

Any script or creative that is transferred and replicated onto any flexible or rigid surface for mass production can be termed as Printing.

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Preface to printing machinery

It refers to all those machines and equipment, which are used in the field of the printing industry. It ranges from small printers to big offset printing machines. Today, printing machinery is available in various technologies and sizes to suit different needs. Bigger sizes of printing machinery are also available for heavy-duty printing useful for high production at high speed.

Types of printing machines

These are the different types of printing machines:

  • Digital printers;
  • Ink-jet printers;
  • Screen printers;
  • Embossing machines;
  • Flexographic printing machine;
  • Letterpress printing machines;
  • Offset printers;
  • Laser printers;
  • Wireless printers;
  • 3D printers;
  • Thermographic printers;
  • Electrostatic printing machine;
  • Pad Printers; and
  • Rotogravure printing machines.

Safety hazards in printing machinery

During the operation and maintenance of the machines, the worker/operator may be exposed to the following electrical and mechanical hazards, if suitable safety guards or safety devices are not provided:

  • Being drawn into in-running nips of rollers;
  • Contact with dangerous moving parts;
  • Uncovered electric connections;
  • Entanglement with rotating parts; and
  • Safety alarms and safety/emergency switches.

Need for safety codes/standards

Movement of machine parts, electric energy, sharp edges, heat, noise, chemicals, etc, may create hazards for workers/operators while operating the printing machine. All these above hazards cannot be avoided by design measures because of the functional requirement of the machine/mechanism and hence safety measures are required to protect the operator from these hazards.

The role of safety codes/standards becomes important for providing procedures/guidelines to the manufacturer while designing their machines and to the operator also while operating the machine.

Standards on safety aspects of printing machinery

Standardization in the field of printing machinery has been a long-drawn program beginning right from the late fifties till the present day. Bureau of Indian Standards through its Printing Machinery Sectional Committee, MED 25 has formulated 17 standards on printing machinery and components covering terminology, dimensions, and performance, maintenance and safety requirements.

Some of the major standards formulated by MED 25 on safety requirements in printing machinery are as follows:

IS/ISO No.IS Title
IS 12619: 2022Printing industry safety code (first revision)
IS/ISO 12643-1: 2009Graphic technology — Safety requirements for graphic technology equipment and systems Part 1 General requirements
IS/ISO 12643-2: 2010Graphic technology — Safety requirements for graphic technology equipment and systems Part 2 Prepress and press equipment and systems
IS/ISO 12643-3: 2010Graphic technology — Safety requirements for graphic technology equipment and systems Part 3 Binding and finishing equipment and systems
IS/ISO 12643-4: 2010Graphic technology — Safety requirements for graphic technology equipment and systems Part 4 Converting equipment and systems
IS/ISO 12643-5: 2010Graphic technology — Safety requirements for graphic technology equipment and systems Part 5 Stand — Alone platen presses

Key provisions of Is12619: 2022 (Printing Industry Safety Code)

This standard specifies the safety requirements applicable to all types and sizes of printing industry ranging from small-scale to large-scale industries engaged in either the total process of paper printing or part thereof.

In this standard only the safety requirements relevant to specific plants and machinery involved in the printing industry, such as foundry, photolitho, printing machines, cutting and binding machines have been enumerated. Other general safety requirements for building, electricity, fire-fighting arrangements, effluents and environment control, etc, as applicable to any other industry shall have to be in compliance with Factory Regulation Act, 1948, prevailing in the respective states where they are located.

 Some of the important safety requirements covered in the standard are as follows:

  1. Mechanical Safety Guards:
  1. Interlocking guards with guard locking (Guards cannot be opened without a tool);
  2. Interlocking guards without guard locking (If guards are opened the machine will stop); and
  3. Mechanical safety guards (Without interlocks) (To be positioned in such a way no part of the human body gets dragged into the rotating nip).
  • Hold-to-run Control Devices:

Control devices, which initiate and maintain the operation of parts of the machine as long as the manual control is actuated. The actuator returns automatically to the stop position when released. The operation is stopped immediately.

  • Emergency Stop Devices:

Machines must be fitted with an emergency stop device at appropriate and approachable locations to enable the operator to stop the machine instantly in case of hazardous conditions.

  • Other Safety Procedures:
  • Following Lock Out Tag Out Procedure (LOTO) during maintenance work [Refer IS 5216 (Part 1)];
  • Installation of Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker (ELCB) protection (Refer IEC TS 60079-32-1);
  • Protection against static electricity hazard [Refer IS 12640 (Part 1)];
  • Standard markings of all electrical and mechanical switches/components across all machines for ease of identification for use;
  • Care and safety to be taken in the storage of flammable products (Inks, washes, and paper);
  • Safety protection from UV lamps (Goggles);
  • Proper exhaust to be given for fumes from UV/IR lamps;
  • Ear plugs should be used in areas where the sound is more than 85 db;
  • Provisions for manual rotation of printing machine aggregates with electrical interlocks;
  • Pre-start warning devices (Alarms);
  • Warning safety signals (Stickers); and
  • Cleansing period and procedures of air, suction, and water filters for optimum use of air compressors, water chillers and re-circulation systems.

Future outlook

The role of standardization is paramount to ensure the safety of operators/workers engaged in the field of printing machinery field. Standards also help in developing a harmonious structure of commonly used systems across all machines which makes ease-of-use/operation for the users/operators. Standards add the value of trust in manufacturers, users, and operators assuring that the processes and procedures being adopted have been scientifically approved by a competent government body and can easily be adopted by all without any further re-thinking. Unless these standards are followed by manufacturers/industries, it would be difficult to realize the goal of a safe and sustainable printing industry.


  • Rajneesh Khosla, Scientist ‘F’/ senior director and head (MED), BIS
  • Lokraj Meena, scientist ‘B’/assistant director, MED, BIS
  • Harjinder Singh, chairman, education and training, AIFMP

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