Bindery operator


Bindery operators tend machines that bind printed or unprinted paper into volumes using staples, twine, glue or other binding technologies.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to bindery operator:

binder machine operator
perfect binding operator
binding machine operator
binding machine tender
bindery worker
bindery technician
perfect binder specialist
bookbinding machine operator
binder technician
bindery specialist
perfect bindery specialist
perfect binder technician
binder machine tender
bindery operative
paper binder
bindery machine operator
perfect binder operator
printing stitcher operator
perfect bindery technician
binding operator
bindery machine specialist
binder operator
perfect bindery operator
binder specialist
bindery machine technician

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a bindery operator.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Bindery operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Bindery operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to bindery operator.

book-sewing machine operator
print folding operator
laminating machine operator
envelope maker
paper bag machine operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of bindery operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of bindery operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

pulp control operator
automated assembly line operator
paper mill supervisor
metal production supervisor
machine operator supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of bindery operator.

  • Binding technologies: The methods to fix paper materials together and enclose them in a cover such as case binding, sewing, adhesive binding, comb binding, and spiral binding.
  • Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of bindery operator.

  • Operate binder machine: Set up the binder machine, which forms, inserts, trims, and fastens binding in covers of paper goods like booklets, pamphlets, and notebooks.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
  • Work safely with machines: Check and safely operate machines and equipment required for your work according to manuals and instructions.
  • Inspect binding work: Check stitched, collated, bound, and unbound paper to ascertain that pages are bound in numerical or folio order according to the sample copy. Follow up consequences of possible defects such as imperfect bindings, ink spots, torn, loose or uneven pages, and loose or uncut threads.
  • Ensure equipment availability: Ensure that the necessary equipment is provided, ready and available for use before start of procedures.
  • Monitor automated machines: Continuously check up on the automated machine’s set-up and execution or make regular control rounds. If necessary, record and interpret data on the operating conditions of installations and equipment in order to identify abnormalities.
  • Adjust properties of cut: Adjust cut sizes and depths of cutting tools. Adjust heights of worktables and machine-arms.
  • Follow safety precautions in printing: Apply safety and health principles, policies and institutional regulations of working in printing production. Protect oneself and others against such hazards as chemicals used in printing, invasive allergens, heat, and disease causing agents.
  • Observe machine feed: Monitor pick up and feeding mechanisms to detect and remove defective pages from the binding machine.
  • Supply machine: Ensure the machine is fed the necessary and adequate materials and control the placement or automatic feed and retrieval of work pieces in the machines or machine tools on the production line.
  • Set up machine controls: Set up or adjust machine controls to regulate conditions such as material flow, temperature, or pressure.
  • Follow production schedule: Follow production schedule taking into account all requirements, times and needs. This schedule outlines what individual commodities must be produced in each time period and encapsulates various concerns like production, staffing, inventory, etc. It is usually linked to manufacturing where the plan indicates when and how much of each product will be demanded. Utilise all the information in the actual implementation of the plan.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of bindery operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Design principles: The elements used in design such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, symmetry, space, form, texture, colour, light, shade and congruence and their application into practice.
  • Types of paper: The different criteria used to determine differences in paper types such as coarseness and thickness, and the different fabrication methods and wood types from which the types of paper stem.
  • Adhesives: The categories, production and the chemical components of adhesives such as non-reactice adhesives (drying adhesives, pressure-sensitive adhesives, contact adhesives and hot adhesives) and reactive adhesives (multi-part adhesives, one-part adhesives).
  • Printed goods processes: The various types and characteristics of producing printed goods such as catalogues, flyers, etc.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of bindery operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Perform manual spiral binding: Operate preformed spiral binding in perforated holes of items and hold the spiral against rubber-covered spindles or wringer-like rollers. These further twist the spiral into any remaining perforations.
  • Emboss designs: Instead of raising a design (embossing) this process recesses the design, forcing the material down from the surface. It produces a different effect or appearance on the material.
  • Trim excess materials: Trim excess material from finished products with a knife.
  • Lift stacks of paper: Raise and replenish heaps of sheets, pages, covers on the machine table to align edges and feed the machine input.
  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Specialise in conservation-restoration of specific types of objects: Specialise in the conservation of particular types of objects: paintings, sculptures, rare books, photographs, furniture, textiles, etc.
  • Apply restoration techniques: Select and apply appropriate restoration techniques in order to achieve the required restoration goals. This encompasses preventive measures, remedial measures, restoration processes and management processes.
  • Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
  • Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
  • Stitch paper materials: Place the book or the material to be stitched under the needle, set the presser foot to the thickness of the book, and turn setscrews to adjust the length of the stitch. Push the material under the presser foot, activating the needle to sew through the length of the paper. Afterwards cut the threads connecting the material, and stack the obtained products.
  • Operate paper stitching machine: Handle stitcher operator to automatically gather, stitch and trim folded signatures or flat sheets of paper. These are subsequently formed into paperbound books, magazines, pamphlets, catalogues and booklets.
  • Sew signatures: Open signature and place it over the machine feed arm, releasing the signature. Stitch or fasten endpapers and linings to first and last signatures of books. This skill also includes applying glue to the binding edge of the book and the binding of books.
  • Evaluate restoration procedures: Evaluate the outcome of conservation and restoration procedures. Evaluate the degree of risk, success of treatment or activity and communicate the results.
  • Stack goods: Stack goods and manufactured products into containers without special treatment or procedure.
  • Make folding styles: Read the folding package or ticket information and decide on a folding style, adjusting the page to the width of the folding depth.
  • Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
  • Dispose of non-hazardous waste: Dispose of waste materials which pose no risk to health and safety in a manner which complies with recycling and waste management procedures.
  • Repair damaged paper parts: Remove and replace damaged covers and backs of books and other paper products.
  • Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
  • Adjust fold plates: Slide the guides and arrows points of the top and bottom fold plates up or down to find a specific fold setting. A fold plate consists of an image of a fold and the paper size.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Monitor conveyor belt: Monitor the flow of the work pieces on the conveyor belt as they are processed by the machine to ensure optimal productivity.
  • Pack goods: Pack different kinds of goods such as finished manufactured products or goods in use. Pack goods by hand in boxes, bags and other types of containers.
  • Measure paper sheets: Use a ruler to measure and accommodate the size and sequence of paper sheets to be used. Position, adjust, and secure the paper inside the measure guides in a specified position.
  • Operate paper folding machine: Perform folder operations, such as setting up and adjusting the feeder for delivery. Prepare the folder machine for special processes like perforating, scoring, trimming, softening, and binding of paper products.
  • Estimate restoration costs: Estimate the cost implications of restoring and replacing products or parts.
  • Perform machine maintenance: Perform regular maintenance, possibly including corrections and alterations, on a machine or machine tool to ensure it remains in a proper productive state.
  • Clean equipment: Perform cleaning routines after equipment use.
  • Process printing input: Accept and pre-process input documents and orders to be used for print production.
  • Report defective manufacturing materials: Maintain required company records and forms in order to report any defective materials or questionable conditions of manufacturing machinery and equipment.
  • Unbind books: Use machines or manual techniques to remove the covering holding paper pages together in order to replace it, repair it or to scan its contents.
  • Label stamps: Cut, store, and issue revenue stamp labels.
  • Prevent paper jams: Overlook the insertion and output of finished products in order to prevent paper jams.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Read job ticket instructions: Understand instructions from the cards accompanying job orders and set up or run the machine based on these statements.
  • Select restoration activities: Determine restoration needs and requirements and plan the activities. Consider the desired results, the level of intervention required, evaluation of alternatives, constraints on actions, stakeholder demands, possible risks and future options.
  • Operate collating machine: Set up and monitor the machine that automatically sorts the different pages of documents.
  • Operate die-cut machines: Operate machinery to cut paper products into a pattern, which is folded and glued into a certain shape.
  • Remove excess glue: Remove surplus of glue with a scraper.
  • Thread wire: String wire into the binding machine.
  • Perforate printed media: Use tools to create small holes or series of holes in printed material in order to allow easy separation from designated sections of the printed output.
  • Store products: Store products to ensure the quality and in accordance with standards and regulations. Ensure the stock facilities are kept according to hygiene standards, regulating temperature, heating and air conditioning of storage facilities.

ISCO group and title

7323 – Print finishing and binding workers

  1. Bindery operator – ESCO
Last updated on October 3, 2022

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