What Is a Bindery Machine Operator?

Bindery machine operators work in the printing and publishing industry, doing exactly what their title suggests. They operate machines that bind books, magazines, and other publications. If you like working with computers and machinery and have an eye for detail, a career as a bindery worker may be for you. Schools offering Visual Communication degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Description

Bindery machine operators load, operate, maintain, and repair bindery machines for saddle stitching, perfect binding, spiral binding, strip binding, or wire binding of documents, reports, booklets, and books. Operation of folding, cutting, and collating machines may also be included in a bindery machine operator's job description. Operators ensure that a bindery machine is loaded with the correct size and type of stock to be bound and provide quality control by reviewing final products.

Important Facts About Bindery Machine Operators

Median Salary (2015) $36,510
Education Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent
Work Environment Primarily indoors within factories
Similar Occupations Maintenance mechanics, field service technicians, equipment operators, sales associates, operations managers

Source: PayScale.com

Skills and Abilities

Operating a bindery machine takes mechanical and computer skills. You also need to be in good physical health to lift large quantities of paper, card stock, and binding supplies, and load them into a bindery machine. If you use manual binding machines, you will use physical force to push a lever to punch paper and insert a binding.

When operating an automated bindery machine, you'll use computers to select the paper type, binding type, and other job specifications. Bindery machine operators are knowledgeable of the many types of bindings and their capacities.

Education and Training

To become a bindery machine operator, you'll need training in all the functions of these complicated machines. Training can be accomplished on the job or at a technical school or community college.

Program Information

A certificate or associate's degree program in bindery and finishing can provide a sufficient background to get started in the business. In a technical certificate program, you'll take classes in how to operate printing presses, collating machines, and binding machines. You'll also take courses in safety and machine maintenance. Programs leading to both certificates and associate's degrees frequently feature courses that provide hands-on experience.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training can take from three months to one year. You can start out as either a helper or an apprentice. Helpers are hired in low-skill jobs and gradually learn bindery terminology and skills needed to operate large bindery machines. Apprentices typically are part of a formal program that includes following a skilled bindery machine operator and taking training courses.

Career Information

Automation in the printing and bindery industry has decreased the need for bindery workers. Completing formal training in both bindery and general printing press operations may open up more job opportunities.

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