BIC Consultant, Heather OConnell, reports back from the first BIC Production Training session in Italy

I’ve just got back from four days in Italy with Printer Trento’s Jo Clark, running the first BIC Colour Print and Paper Course. We had three trainees with us, Rebecca Evans and Charlotte Dolan from Harper Collins, and Rick Hunt from Ordnance Survey. The sun shone, everyone learned a lot and had fun.
We all arrived in Italy on the unseasonably sunny afternoon of Sunday March 16th 2014 and after driving through the mountains to Trento had a few hours to explore the town before dinner in a traditional Trentino restaurant.

The real work started on Monday morning: we were at Printer Trento’s factory for 9am and spent the morning with Technical Manager Emanuele Cheller, looking at colour theory and the principles of litho printing. Emanuele is a lecturer in his spare time and it showed. His relaxed and authoritative style kept everyone completely absorbed. The morning ended with a close look at the press in action and an introduction to press passing. We learnt what can and can’t be done on press and what to look for when passing a sheet. The trainees loved it.

After a quick sandwich, we drove to the IGF bindery where Printer Trento’s Production Manager, Andrea Ferrari, gave us a detailed explanation of how lots of different kinds of bindings and cover finishes are achieved. The trainees were bombarded with samples to see, touch and dissect. With the theory out of the way we went in to the plant and saw it all in practice. Binderies are always fascinating, the machines are such clever and innovative pieces of engineering, I marvel at the mind that when faced with the problem of automating book binding, created these machines. Brilliant!

We didn’t finish at the bindery until almost 7pm when we were presented with a lovely glass of wine from the owners vineyard, the perfect end to a very long day.

After dinner and an early night, we were all ready for an early start and the drive to Cartiere del Garda. Nestled at the top of lake Garda this fantastic paper mill has to take extra care not to distract from the areas outstanding beauty, they even hide the mill behind decorative hoardings which means they are often mistaken for a hotel by confused tourists. In the morning we learnt about the paper market, how to make paper, the different types on the market and their uses. After a great lunch, topped off with homemade tiramisu we had a tour of the mill, seeing everything from the pulp arriving to the paper leaving and everything in between. I always forget that mills have such a distinctive smell and are all such incredibly fascinating places. This was certainly a highlight of the day. After our tour and some espresso to keep everyone going, we heard about the environmental considerations of the paper industry from forest to consumer. Fascinating and so relevant to everyone’s day to day life. We left the mill around 6pm and headed back to Trento for an early dinner and a relaxing glass of wine.
Our final day in Italy focussed on the commercial considerations when buying print and paper: putting all of the technical and theoretical information we’d learnt over the past two days into practice. Looking at how to select a supplier, specify what you want and compare the prices you are given.

Before leaving Printer Trento, we had a quick pizza lunch, (well we were in Italy after all) and the team completed the course assessment. Then it was back to the airport and back to reality. I can’t wait for the next one.


  • Heather O’Connell

    Heather O’Connell is a consultant to the print and publishing industry. She is working with BIC to develop and expand its training programme, and chairs its Training, Events and Communications Committee.

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