Aftermath of Kerala floods: A tasklist to follow

The water from the floods in Kerala is receding and there is an attempt for life to slowly crawl back to its normal pace. This is true for the printing press owners in Kerala as well. But, it is important to not cause any haste. It is not just the flood water that can destroy the machines and lead to accidents; it is the anxiety to start up the idle machine as quickly as possible and a complete indifference to safe procedures that will lead to greater damage.

29 Aug 2018 | By Amogh Dikshit

Kerala’s industrial sector in shatters as flood hits the state

Arvind Kalasur and Baban Khot, the lead engineers of Welbound Technical Services (WTS) in Mumbai, have come up with a tasklist.

Primary precautions

  • Do not return to the press until authorities have advised that it is safe to do so.
  • If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your press until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
  • Machines that may have been flooded pose a risk of electric shock or fire when turned on without evaluating it properly. Do not switch on the machines until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician.


Entering the shopfloor

  • First and foremost thing to be done: Do isolate machine power supply as soon as you get access to the machine. This is applicable even if the power supply from electricity board is switched off. All work is to be carried on the machine with the main power supply cable disconnected.
  • Do clean the machine and the surrounding area. Once the situation is under control the machine and the surrounding area must be allowed to dry with occasional use of blower/vacuum cleaner (if the power supply is present) and dry cloth.
  • Electrical panels too should be dried in a similar fashion. Do not wipe the electrical components with cloth or any other method unless the panel is completely dry. A thin layer of dust settles on the whole machine when it is under water. It is better to allow it dry completely before it is cleaned. It is also easier to clean this dust when it is completely dry.
  • Preferably there should be one pneumatic air compressor at the press up to 40 CFM capacity to deliver high-pressure air (approximately three to five bar).
  • You can clean the drive, PLC, PCBs and other electronic systems with portable hot blower and Klinit cleaning spray for electrical contacts.  You can use CRC contact cleaner to clean contacts of contactors and MCBs in the panel
  • With water and moisture all metal parts tend to rust. The rust prevents smooth movement of the moving parts. We must clean machine metal parts with a cloth first and then with oil or rust remover (WD40 spray). Manual lubrication must be carried out continuously at all joints. It may be necessary to remove certain parts to clean them. Re-fix the parts after cleaning them.
  • You can use the Rustolene rust remover liquid along with air pressure to clean the critical parts like grippers of sheetfed machines, grippers gathering machines and guide rollers. You can also remove rust from the movable parts of the machines by using Rustolene with air pressure.
  • All machine covers can be removed to gain proper access to the machine.
  • The status of the machine can only be found out switching it on. But before that, follow the above procedure properly and check the main power and earthing. After confirming power supply condition and machine cleanliness it can be powered on.
  • If the machine is cleaned properly, there is a good chance that it will start operating without any problems. There may be some mechanical issues due to rust which can be tended to once the machine is powered on.


Conclusion: Keep it simple

The more time you spend in inspecting, cleaning and drying the machine the more it will help you to reduce the damages. Please note, the repair work can be very expensive and lead to a huge loss of productive hours.

WTS has agreed to support the printers of Kerala affected by the flood, to help put back the machines into working conditions where ever the original equipment supplier support is not forthcoming. It will work with the printer's maintenance team, operators and local engineers and guide them through the process. Both Arvind Kalasur and Baban Khot have experience in bringing the machines back to life from such conditions.

They will be available for any help at