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We have gathered some of the better articles related to our niche for your viewing. These articles will give you a better understanding of some of the processes and operations we perform.


 
 

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Proper Spoilage Planning

By:Marty Anson 
Reprinted from Print & Graphics 
Issue: September 1998

It astonishes me sometimes what printers give us for "spoilage" -- by that I mean the extra press sheets that are sent to the bindery to be used for setup and during the run. Some printers play so close to the vest that we have to root through our waste bins to make count, while other printers must have stock in International Paper, they provide so many excess sheets to play with.

Printers call to ask us for spoilage allowances in only 10% of the jobs we do; most of the time, it is just an educated guess on our part as to what we might need. Many variables are involved: weight of stock, humidity, static, curl, temperature and even who is going to run it (some operators can get a job going hardly any extras while others just seem to have enough).

One of my favorite stories occurred when we handled a web-folded saddle-stitch job where the lip on the signature varied from 5/8” to nothing. When we called to complain, we were told an apprentice had run the job and that we were lucky it wasn't worse than that! (If we ever gave that excuse to the printers we work with, they would hang us out to dry).

Another phenomenon we see with spoilage allowances is that we receive uneven quantities of printed material labeled incorrectly. For example, we will be planning to produce 12,000 copies of a perfect-bound book (8-1/2" x 11") as 15 16-page signatures and receive 15 skids of text with load tags that all say 12,650 copies. And some of those skids will be up to four inches shorter than the tallest skid. (Sounds like the pressroom got a memo from the front office to print no more or less than what is called for on the jackets.)

Pocket Folders        
(Please leave all glue areas free of ink and coatings)
           
          1 Flat
1 or 2 reg. 1 Flat & 1 or 2 1 Vertical 2 Vertical Vertical &
Flat 1 Capacity Capacity Flat Flat 1 Flat
Quantity Pockets Pocket Pockets Pocket Pockets Horizontal
          Pocket
=========== =========== =========== =========== =========== =========== =======
Under 5M 15% 20% 15% 15% 20% 20%
5M-25M 12% 12-15% 10% 10-12% 12-15% 12-15%
25M-100M 10% 10% 8% 8-10% 10% 10-12%
over 100M 6% 8% 6% 6% 8% 8-10%

It is also frustrating when we run a large multiple-signature job and come up short because one signature is 500 copies short. Thus, in a 20-signature job, at least a 500-plus spoilage allowance will be left for every other signature - a very expensive shortage.  And sometimes there isn't time to make up the shortage, which means lost revenue for the printer.

When it comes to shortages, we have been blamed for all sorts of problems that didn't start at the bindery. One of my favorites occurs when a customer calls us claiming we used the makeready sheets in the actual run. Our response: "Why send makeready sheets at all?" Sometimes we receive six inches of flat sheets that, if the flag (skid tag) stays in during transportation, state, "Use for makeready only." It is not necessary to send that much stock for setup (25 to 50 sheets will do). And if you must send makeready sheets, be sure not to pile them on the bottom of the skid, and angle-cut the corners so there is no possibility they will be mixed in with good printing.

To help members of the industry avoid these and other costly (and embarrassing) situations, the Printing Industries of Maryland (PIM) has compiled guidelines of recommended spoilage allowances. It's a great tool for planning for printing production (a portion of this chart is shown here.)  Remember, however, that the degree of difficulty of a job will greatly influence the recommended allowances.  It is merely a guideline and you should consult your bindery to determine a safe amount.

If you would like a complete copy of the spoilage recommendations, contact PIM at (800) 560-3306.

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