Orlando, FL, May 22, 2006 — For the second year in a row, a team from Williamson Printing Corporation in Dallas, TX, won the annual PIA/GATF/SGI Web Press Skills Competition. This year, Ron Rogers and Rudy Padilla took home the top honors. Rogers was also part of the winning team in 2005.
The competition was sponsored by MAN Roland and took place during the Web Offset Association’s annual conference, May 21–24, 2006, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL. It was conducted by PIA/GATF, along with Sinapse Graphic International, developer of the SIR Heatset Web Offset Training Simulator that was used during the competition.
“The simulator is a great learning tool for operators gaining experience and knowledge, but it is also ideally suited for this type of contest among pressroom experts,” said Jim Workman, PIA/GATF director of training programs, who managed the competition. The simulator is a highly integrated, interactive software package that recreates the operational aspects of a web press, from the reelstand to printing units to folder.
The preliminary round of the contest attracted lead operators, press supervisors, and manufacturing managers. These contestants were asked to solve the same makeready exercise involving a web break, misregister, an underpacked plate, incorrect ink key settings, and poorly adjusted cut-off register. Solving the exercise with the lowest cost, Rogers and Padilla from Williamson Printing and Kurt Miller from QuadTech International in Sussex, WI, advanced to the final round.
As the attendees of the Web Offset Association conference watched their actions on two large screens, the final contestants from Williamson Printing and QuadTech International raced to detect and solve six identical problems, including misregister, an overpacked blanket, insufficient dampening, and a badly adjusted former during the final makeready exercise. Rogers and Padilla were able to match the press OK sheet in the winning cost of just over $1,300.
“Ron told me that the exercises were harder than last year,” said Padilla. “It was challenging to be under that type of pressure, but then again, there was nothing we experienced that we don’t occasionally see on our web presses back home.”
Roger’s troubleshooting ability was developed over his seventeen-year print career. He started in printing in 1988, went to work at Williamson in 1995 as a second press operator, and was promoted shortly after to first press operator. He also serves as one of Williamson's web trainers. Padilla has been one of Williamson's top operators since being promoted to first press operators in 1997. He began his career with Williamson in 1983 as a jogger, moved up to rolltender, and worked for eight years as a second press operator.
Along with the title of troubleshooting champions, Rogers and Padilla received a plaque, leather briefcases containing assorted gifts from MAN Roland, PIA/GATF’s web offset press textbooks, and a case of French wine by Paris-based Sinapse Graphic International. PIA/GATF distributes both the SIR Heatset Web Offset Training Simulator and the Sheetfed Offset Training Simulator to printing companies and schools, conducts a training program on how to use the programs, and provides technical support for the systems. Training via simulators prepares printing apprentices for real situations without losing machinery production time and materials or jeopardizing safety. It also enables educational institutions to overcome space and financial limitations and offer “hands-on” press training on larger-format presses.
Those interested in participating in next year’s contest or in either the web or sheet press simulator may contact Ricky Vila-Roger, PIA/GATF’s training curriculums manager, by phoning 412-259-1715 or emailing [email protected]