Print folding operator


Print folding operators tend a machine that folds paper and bundles of paper.

Print folding operators typically do the following:

  • Review job specifications to determine page sequence, type of fold, page size and packing requirements.
  • Pre-set side guide, fold plates, fold rollers, and any slitting blades or perforators required.
  • Load sheets onto feeder and jog sheets into proper positions to determine final settings of units in item for completion of job.
  • Adjust machine during production run as required for, adherence to all quality and customer requirements.
  • May jog folded signatures or brochures for use in the next operation or for shipment to customer.
  • May operate two or more machines simultaneously.
  • Record job information on load tags and time sheets.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to print folding operator:

printing folding machine operator
folder guillotine operator
folder machine operator
folder/cutter operator
miniature folding specialist
folder/guillotine operator
miniature folding technician
folding machine specialist
folder gluer specialist
folding machine technician
paper folding machinist
folder/gluer specialist
paper folder machine worker
miniature folding operator
folder cutter operator
folder machine tender
print folding technician
print folding specialist
complex folder/gluer operator

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a print folding 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.

Print folding operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Print folding operator career path

Similar occupations

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

laminating machine operator
book-sewing machine operator
paper cutter operator
hot foil operator
envelope maker

Long term prospects

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

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

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of print folding 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.
  • Types of folders: The distinction between buckle folders; where paper is folded and squeezed, plow folders that reduce printing costs and include several glue systems, and knife folders that strike the paper between two rollers by using knives through cross folding.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of print folding 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.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Read job ticket instructions: Understand instructions from the cards accompanying job orders and set up or run the machine based on these statements.
  • Set up the controller of a machine: Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

  • Printing media: Specific techniques related to various printing surfaces such plastics, metal, glass, textiles, wood, and paper.
  • 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 print folding operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • 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.
  • Meet contract specifications: Meet contract specifications, schedules and manufacturers’ information. Check that the work can be carried out in the estimated and allocated time.
  • 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.
  • Adjust properties of cut: Adjust cut sizes and depths of cutting tools. Adjust heights of worktables and machine-arms.
  • 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.
  • 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.

ISCO group and title

7323 – Print finishing and binding workers

  1. Print folding operator – ESCO
  2. Folder Operator – Printing United Alliance
Last updated on October 3, 2022

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