Plate Maker Career

Job Description: Format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed. Includes digital and photo typesetting. May produce printing plates.

*A job as a Plate Maker falls under the broader career category of Prepress Technicians and Workers. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Plate Maker Career

What Plate Makers do:

  • Enter, store, and retrieve information on computer-aided equipment.
  • Enter, position, and alter text size, using computers, to make up and arrange pages so that printed materials can be produced.
  • Maintain, adjust, and clean equipment, and perform minor repairs.
  • Examine photographic images for obvious imperfections prior to plate making.
  • Set scanners to specific color densities, sizes, screen rulings, and exposure adjustments, using scanner keyboards or computers.
  • Analyze originals to evaluate color density, gradation highlights, middle tones, and shadows, using densitometers and knowledge of light and color.
  • Scale copy for reductions and enlargements, using proportion wheels.
  • Inspect developed film for specified results and quality, using magnifying glasses and scopes; forward acceptable negatives or positives to other workers or to customers.
  • Examine unexposed photographic plates to detect flaws or foreign particles prior to printing.
  • Correct minor film mask defects with litho tape or opaquing fluid.
  • Operate and maintain a variety of cameras and equipment, such as process, line, halftone, and color separation cameras, enlargers, electronic scanners, and contact equipment.
  • Activate scanners to produce positive or negative films for the black-and-white, cyan, yellow, and magenta separations from each original copy.
  • Operate and maintain laser plate-making equipment that converts electronic data to plates without the use of film.
  • Unload exposed film from scanners, and place film in automatic processors to develop images.
  • Perform minor deletions, additions, or corrections to completed plates, on or off printing presses, using tusche, printing ink, erasers, and needles.
  • Select proper types of plates according to press run lengths.
  • Mix solutions such as developing solutions and colored coating solutions.
  • Remove plate-film assemblies from vacuum frames, and place exposed plates in automatic processors to develop images and dry plates.
  • Position and angle screens for proper exposure.
  • Arrange and mount typeset material and illustrations into paste-ups for printing reproduction, based on artists' or editors' layouts.
  • Position color transparencies, negatives, or reflection copies on scanning drums, and mount drums and heads on scanners.
  • Place masking paper on areas of plates not covered by positives or negatives, in order to prevent exposure.
  • Mount negatives and plates in cameras, set exposure controls, and expose plates to light through negatives in order to transfer images onto plates.
  • Perform tests to determine lengths of exposures, by exposing plates, scanning line copy, and comparing exposures to tone range scales.
  • Lower vacuum frames onto plate-film assemblies, activate vacuums to establish contact between film and plates, and set timers to activate ultraviolet lights that expose plates.
  • Punch holes in light-sensitive plates and insert pins in holes to prepare plates for contact with positive or negative film.
  • Examine finished plates to detect flaws, verify conformity with master plates, and measure dot sizes and centers, using light-boxes and microscopes.
  • Perform close alignment or registration of double and single flats to sensitized plates prior to exposure, in order to produce composite images.
  • Monitor contact between cover glass and masks inside vacuum frames, in order to prevent flaws resulting from overexposure or light reflection.
  • Reposition lamps and adjust aperture controls in order to provide high quality images.
  • Operate presses to print proofs of plates, monitoring printing quality to ensure that it is adequate.
  • Transfer images from master plates to unexposed plates, and immerse plates in developing solutions to develop images.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Holland Code Chart for a Plate Maker

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