Gravure Machine Operator or Lithographic Machine-minder

Gravure machine operators are in charge of printing machines and are primarily responsible for making the necessary adjustments to ensure the highest quality of printing possible.

Gravure machine operators’ tasks include the setting up of the printing machine, using printing cylinders prepared by photogravure engravers. They also clean the inking system and oil the machine; lock the printing cylinder into position on the machine; and fill the ink trough and regulate the flow of ink. They thread the paper through the machine guides and rollers; adjust the rollers and cutting mechanisms, then set and adjust the scraper blade to remove excess ink from the cylinder surface. Finally, a trial run is made to check legibility and printing uniformity.

When everything is in order, the machine is restarted and brought to full speed to commence printing. The printing, folding and cutting procedures also need to be checked for correct functioning.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • pay attention to detail
  • enjoy working with your hands
  • neat and accurate worker
  • technically inclined
  • manual dexterity

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • Grade 10 Certificate for a learner or learner-ship at a company.
  • National Senior Certificate for full-time training at the South African Printing College

What to Study

Prospective gravure machine-operators can qualify in two different ways:

  • by serving a learnership at a company where they receive practical in-service training (Competency-Based Modular Method) under the supervision of skilled tradesmen, while theoretical classes are conducted through the Distance Learning Department of the Southern African Printing College
  • by attending the full-time 6 months course at the Southern African Printing College, where both practical and theoretical teaching / trainingis done (Competency-Based Modular Method). After the successful completion of the course students have to be enrolled as learners for a minimum of 66 weeks before being allowed to do the Final Competence Test.


  • commercial printing plants
  • book and magazine publishers
  • newspaper plants
  • stationery and envelope manufacturers
  • government departments e.g. government printing works
  • manufacturers and other firms that do their own printing

Further Information

Printing Industries Federation of South Africa (PIFSA)
575 Lupton Drive
Halfway House Midrand
Gauteng 2191 South Africa
Tel: (011) 287-1160

Getting Started

  • consult the Registrar of Manpower Training concerning learnership programmes in your area
  • try to obtain vacation work at a printing factory
  • speak to a gravure machine operator about this type of work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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