Book-sewing machine operator


Book-sewing machine operators tend a machine that stitches paper together to form a volume. They check that signatures are inserted the right way and the machine does not jam.

Book-sewing machine operators typically do the following:

  • Set-up, operate and maintain stitcher.
  • Operate paper cutter according to instructions.
  • Operate, drill,perf/scoring machine, round corner machine.
  • Operate folder.
  • Assist in shipping and receiving when needed.
  • Have knowledge of all procedures pertaining to these areas.
  • Keep area neat and clean.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to book-sewing machine operator:

thread book sewing machine technician
paper stitcher
stitching machine operator
book-sewing machine technician
paper stitching machine technician
thread book sewing machine operator
book-sewing machine tender
paper stitching machine specialist
thread book sewing machine specialist
book-sewing machine specialist
paper stitching machine operator
thread book-sewing machine tender
thread book-sewing machine operator

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a book-sewing machine 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.

Book-sewing machine operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Book-sewing machine operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to book-sewing machine operator.

print folding operator
laminating machine operator
paper bag machine operator
paper embosing press operator
hot foil operator

Long term prospects

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

automated assembly line operator
pulp control operator
plastic and rubber products manufacturing supervisor
machine operator supervisor
paper mill supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of book-sewing machine operator.

  • 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.
  • 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 book-sewing machine operator.

  • Lift stacks of paper: Raise and replenish heaps of sheets, pages, covers on the machine table to align edges and feed the machine input.
  • 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.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Adjust paper stitching machine: Set and adjust several parts of the stitching machine such as pressure pumps, stitchers for specified length, and thickness of the stitch and trimmer knives to trim three sides of a publication to its required size.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

  • 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 book-sewing machine operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Trim excess materials: Trim excess material from finished products with a knife.
  • Follow a brief: Interpret and meet requirements and expectations, as discussed and agreed upon with the customers.
  • Monitor gauge: Oversee the data presented by a gauge concerning the measurement of pressure, temperature, thickness of a material, and others.
  • Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Replace sawing blade on machine: Replace the old blade of a sawing machine with a new one by removing the chip brush, taking away the front blade guide, loosening the blade tension and removing the blade. Assemble and install new blade by replacing the front blade guide, installing the chip brush, replacing the blade cover and adjusting blade tension.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Consult technical resources: Read and interpret such technical resources such as digital or paper drawings and adjustment data in order to properly set up a machine or working tool, or to assemble mechanical equipment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Remove excess glue: Remove surplus of glue with a scraper.

ISCO group and title

7323 – Print finishing and binding workers

  1. Book-sewing machine operator – ESCO
  2. Stitcher Operator – Printing United Alliance
Last updated on October 3, 2022

What do you want to do with this job?

You will be brought to the forum page

Requires a business account

Requires a business account

Thinking about your next career move?

Answer a few questions about your jobs and education, and we’ll give you suggestions about your best possible career move. It’s completely free!