In a battle of problem solving and web offset press operating skill, Kim Harden, plant manager for Tempo Graphics, a direct mail printer in Carol Stream, Ill., came out on top.
Harden was the winner in the second annual "I Am the Greatest" GATF Web Press Skills Contest, sponsored by the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF). The contest used the SIR Heatset Web Offset Training Simulator, a virtual press, to present problem-solving exercises. The competition took place May 4-7, in Nashville, Tenn.
"The ability of the simulator to track the costs of the contestants' actions makes it ideally suited for this type of contest," said Jim Workman, GATF director of training programs.
The simulator is a highly integrated, interactive software package used as part of a training system for press operators. The software recreates the operational aspects of a web press, from the reel stand to folder through computer simulation.
In the preliminary round, 14 press foremen, supervisors, production managers, and plant managers had 30 minutes to solve the same six specific make ready problems involving registration and color variation and worn ink rollers. Solving the exercise within the allotted time and with the lowest cost, Harden and Andre Dolor, a web foreman for Hagadone Printing Company in Honolulu, advanced to the final round.
Harden and Dolor raced to detect and solve seven identical problems stemming from tension variation, poor cut-off register, misadjusted dampening rollers, and registration and color variation. Harden solved all the problems in 10 minutes at a cost of $326.
"I was concerned I wouldn't be able to troubleshoot as well using a computer graphic as having a real sheet in my hand," Harden said. "But the simulator [did] a fantastic job of representing a printed sheet—detailing fold marks, register marks, and the associated unit problems."