• DRUPA 2016 Tech Review

    June 24, 2016

    Printing Industries of America’s Vice President of Education and Marketing Strategies, Julie Shaffer, recently attended DRUPA 2016. To download a PDF version of Julie’s review of the new technology on display at the show, click here or click the image below.
  • Successful Telephone Reference Checks

    February 25, 2016

    As business activity begins to pickup, some firms are looking to hire employees. Here are some tips that can be used for telephone reference checks. After confirming the identity, dates of employment, and relevant experience of the individual, these are the most important questions to ask: What was the employee’s last salary? Did he or she always receive merit increases? Did his or her salary include bonuses, incentives, or overtime? Is the employee honest in your opinion? Was it easy to replace him or her? Since he or she was such a good employee [if, in fact, that is the reference], why didn’t your company try to keep him or her from leaving? Given that none of us are perfect, what would you say his or her shortcomings were? Did the employee get along with all of his or her coworkers? If not, what factors led to the conflict? How did the employee come to work for your organization? Can I take a moment to read you the part of the employee’s resume that describes his or her job with you? [After reading the section] Is that a correct description? Does this person have disciplinary memos in their file? Can you disclose the topic? Did the employee correct the issue to the company’s satisfaction? Is this person eligible for rehire? Would you rehire them if you could? Additional hiring and reference resources can be found at www.printing.org/page/3909.
  • Password Security

    November 6, 2015

    Online security is a vast and vital topic, and password security is one element of that topic that affects nearly everyone. Check out the six tips below for fundamental ways to make your passwords more secure. 1. Use a variety of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Most websites and accounts supply rules about the minimum length of passwords and the mix of characters required. It’s best to have a variety of characters in a password. While you might not want to use a random string of characters because you know you won’t be able to remember them, you can use a mix of characters that both makes sense and provides increased password strength. For example, the password “beachhouse” is not very strong because it only contains lower-case letters. However, the password “B3@chH0u$3,” which uses a few simple substitutions, is much stronger and still retains a semblance of meaning. 2. Use a variety of passwords, especially in highly sensitive situations like bank accounts, email, and social media profiles. The logic behind this is clear: if you use the same password for everything, it would be an enormous hassle (or worse) if that one password became comprised. 3. Consider applying passwords to lock your phones, tablets, and computers. Many people think of digital security as applying only to protection against online threats. It’s also a smart practice, though, to keep your devices safe from people who may have direct physical access to them. Sometimes, these threats can be relatively harmless, like  forgetting to log out of a social media site only to have a “friend” sit down at your computer and make an embarrassing post from your profile. Now, consider a scarier prospect: you lose your phone, which isn’t password protected, and some unscrupulous individual finds it and has access to your email, social media accounts, and contact list. 4. Beware of phishing schemes. A phishing scheme is a type of attack that attempts to trick a person into giving up their personal information. Online, this might involve a fraudulent website that is created to look like a legitimate website. When a person attempts to log in to the fraudulent website, they’re actually supplying the perpetrators of the scam with their login information to the legitimate website. If you’re suspicious, it’s best to manually type in the URL of site that you’re visiting or to bookmark the legitimate URL. Similarly, phishing scams can come in the form of emails asking you supply confidential information. An email like this, especially from someone you don’t know, should always raise a red flag. 5. Change your passwords periodically. This is always a good practice, and some sites actually require that you change your password after a certain period of time. 6. Research password management software. There are a variety of programs on the market, such as LastPass and KeePass, that help you manage all of your different passwords. The main benefit to password managers is that you can create very strong passwords without worrying about forgetting them. When using programs like these you only need to remember one password–the one for your password management software.
  • Effects of Temperature and Humidity on Paper

    May 14, 2015

    The environmental conditions of your paper storage and pressroom can have an impact on what is often the largest, most expensive component of a printing project—paper. By nature paper is dimensionally unstable and susceptible to temperature and humidity. As the climate in the air changes, so does the climate within the paper. Establishing a policy and procedures to ensure paper is in an optimum condition prior to handling in the pressroom will help to avoid potential problems in production. Air contains many gases, including oxygen, nitrogen, and water vapor. At a given temperature, air can only hold a specific, determinable, maximum amount of water vapor. Relative humidity (RH) is the percent ratio of the amount of water vapor present in the air to the greatest amount possible at the same temperature. Paper readily absorbs and yields water vapor when it is exposed to different atmospheric conditions. Paper is subjected to various temperatures and humidities in the paper mill, during transport to the printing plant, in the plant’s storage area, and in the pressroom. If the temperature and moisture content of the paper and the surrounding air do not attain equilibrium in a controlled manner, it can lead to dimensional instability, runnability problems, misregister, or picking on press. Paper Manufacture and Delivery When paper fibers absorb or lose moisture, the diameter changes more drastically than the length of the fibers. This means that the paper dimensions change more across the grain than with the grain. The degree of dimensional change for any given change in moisture content depends upon the type of paper, its composition, and the extent of its refining. Printing papers are manufactured so that they have a minimal dimensional change consistent with other required properties. Paper companies supply paper with a moisture content that, in their experience, satisfies most of their customers. It is impossible to produce paper that meets the RH requirements of the changing and adverse atmospheric conditions of many pressrooms, in transit, or in plant storage. To ensure that the paper is received in proper condition, all deliveries should be checked on arrival. Wrappings or cartons having minor tears should be repaired. Skids or rolls having punctures, tears, or breaks in the protective wrapping should be examined very closely to determine if the material is defective or unusable. Printers should photograph damaged skids, cartons, and rolls before they are removed from trucks or boxcars. The photographs act as proof of the condition of the paper when it arrived at the plant. In addition to protecting the printer against loss, photos can assist the mill in tracking the causes of damaged paper. If paper wrappings must be removed for sampling or testing purposes, the wrapped paper should be brought into temperature balance before it is opened, and rewrapped immediately. From Storage to Pressroom When paper is removed from a cool area where it is in equilibrium with regard to the temperature and RH of the air around it and placed in, for example, a pressroom where the temperature is greater, the paper will gain heat from the air in the pressroom until it reaches equilibrium. Depending on the RHs of the paper and of the air in the pressroom, paper will gain or lose, moisture as well—even if it is properly wrapped. This situation can be avoided by using a temperature-control system. However, many printers find it too costly to air condition both the paper storage area and the pressroom. If the storage area is not temperature-controlled, when paper is moved to the pressroom, it must be allowed to stand until it comes to pressroom temperature before being unwrapped. The length of time required depends on the size of the skid or roll and on the differences between the temperature of the paper and pressroom. If the paper storage area is maintained at the same temperature as the pressroom, stored paper can be unwrapped and used immediately. Temperature and RH are Critical Factors The greatest paper handling difficulties occur on cold days when the humidity inside the pressroom may become exceptionally low, causing tight edges that result in misregister, sheet wrinkling, and problems with static electricity. Even on a mild day in the northern United States and Canada, the pressroom RH may be only 15%. On the flip side, during a thunderstorm in the summer or in some areas in the south, a pressroom RH can reach as high as 90%. A high RH causes the paper to develop wavy edges (Figure 1). Figure 1. Wavy-edged paper (left) and tight-edged paper (right). Subjecting the paper to wide variations in temperature is a major cause of paper runnability issues. It is possible for cool paper in a warm pressroom to condense moisture in the same manner that moisture collects outside a glass of ice water. A press operator would not think of sprinkling water onto paper, yet when a skid of ice-cold paper is opened, moisture condenses on it the same way as if it had been sprinkled. The result is that the outside edges of the paper expand while the center of the sheet retains its original dimensions. When this occurs, wavy edges will develop. A less common, but equally serious, problem will also occur when paper is exposed to extremely low RH in a warm pressroom. In this case, the edges of the paper lose water and shrink, while the inside center areas of the sheet remain unchanged in size. The result is a loose belly in the sheet or tight edges. Low RH also leads to static electricity and feeding and delivery problems. Press Operators Can Determine Paper Temperature and RH It is sometimes desirable for the press operator to determine the temperature and RH of paper. Temperature and RH can be measured using a sword hydrometer (Figure 2). Figure 2. Measuring temperature and RH with sword hydrometer Summary: Preventing Paper Problems Place orders far enough in advance to allow paper to reach pressroom temperature before removing protective wrapping. Photograph skids, cartons, and rolls of paper before removing them from trucks or boxcars. Report all damages to the carrier and paper mill immediately. Severely damaged paper should be rejected. Store paper at pressroom temperature, but not near a heater or cold wall. Do not unwrap paper until it is ready to be printed. If skids or rolls are unwrapped for sampling or testing purposes, they should be rewrapped immediately. All paper should be properly covered or wrapped with plastic between each pass through a press and after printing is completed This article comes from Printing Industries of America’s Center for Technology and Research at http://www.printing.org/ctr.
  • Five Reliable Sources for Free Fonts

    February 17, 2015

    Fonts are the most fundamental and powerful elements in a designer’s arsenal. Luckily, there are variety of places online where you can find free fonts. Some sites provide downloadable font files that you can use on your computer and in printed pieces. Other sites provide what are known as web fonts, snippets of code that you can add to a website. Check out the list below for some sites providing free fonts: Font Squirrel Font Squirrel is a popular resource for free, commercial-use fonts. Font Squirrels collection is easy to search and they frequently update their lists of the most popular fonts. FontStruct FontStruct is a free font-building tool sponsored by FontShop. The site lets users build fonts out of geometrical shapes through a graphical editor. FontStruct generates TrueType fonts which can be used in Mac or Windows environments. Users are encouraged to share their creations with other users. UrbanFonts UrbanFonts has free fonts, premium fonts, and free dingbats. Most fonts on this site are freeware, while some are shareware. Some fonts provided are trial versions of full versions and may not allow embedding unless a commercial license is purchased or may contain a limited character set. Google Fonts Google Fonts is a repository for web fonts that runs on Google’s servers. All of the fonts are open ssource. Users can share fonts, customize fonts for personal use, or work with the original creator to modify them. The fonts can be used privately or commercially. Adobe Edge Web Fonts Edge Web Fonts provides access to a web font library consisting of contributions from Adobe, Google, and various designers. Users select the fonts they want to use on their websites and copy a line of JavaScript into their sites’ HTML code to begin using them in their sites CSS. Edge Web Fonts is powered by Typekit, a commercial web font service from Adobe.


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