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Talent From Within: Jeff Holby

Posted by Crystal Lague


Jeff Holby

Machine Operator


How long have you been in the printing industry?

            This is my 39th year. I started right out of high school. Growing up my dad owned a couple printing companies in Minnesota, so I guess you could say I was raised in this industry. I started working in my dad’s shop when I was 18. That is pretty much where I learned the business.

            I began as a press helper and ended up in bindery. The machines where all different back then, but they had the same functions as the ones we use now.

            The printing industry has been good to me. I met my wife in the printing industry. We have been married 24 years; have a great son, a great daughter, and an amazing grandson. It’s been a good life for me. It’s hard work and it’s rough on your body, but it’s been good.


How long have you been with Vision Graphics?

            I have been with Vision Graphics/ Eagle:xm for 15 years this September. It is a larger company than the others I’ve worked for. We have a very upscale focus and we also do a lot more mass commercial printing. When I started here I had never run a stitcher. I was a folder and cutter operator and I ran a number of smaller machines. I have loved the stitcher since I first learned it. It’s like it was meant for me. I find it to be more challenging than the other machines and I’m up to that.


What are some of the machines that you operate?

            I primarily operate the sticher, folders, and cutters, but I can also run any of the smaller machines: the drills, shrink wrapper, power stapler. Just about any machine in the finishing department I have run at one time. The more you know the better. Operators that can run a variety of machines are more valuable employees, because we can work whatever is appropriate for the types of jobs on the floor.

            The first step of running any machine is reading the job ticket and making sure there is a proof to work from. It’s important to read the job ticket closely to ensure the customer is getting the exact specifications they asked for. If I am on the stitcher, the next step is to place parts 1-6 in the pockets and the cover in the cover feeder. After that I set the pockets, the trimmer, and the stich heads to match the job specifications. Once I am all set up I will start running the books through. As the pockets drop sheets the machine assembles the book for me.

            If I am running a more complex job, one that has an envelope drop on the chain for example, I will put clips on to hold the envelope in place. This prevents the envelope from sliding up the book and getting cut open during the trimming process.

            Another function of the stitcher is that I can take off the stacker at the end of the machine and put on a knife folder. This allows me to fold the book in half as it comes off, which is valuable for jobs that mail, because it costs less in postage. We could use one of the folders to carry out this function, but the versatility of the stitcher allows the product to go through one machine instead of two, increasing time efficiency and decreasing related costs to our clients.    


Since you started in the printing industry how has technology changed the way that the bindery equipment operates?

            Things have come a long way. It wasn’t a push button world back then. Machines could not be programmed the way they are now. The ones you could program where incredibly expensive and most places didn’t have them. Everything was done manually.


I see a lot of interesting articles here.

By Hildegarde88 on 2016 10 06

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