Heidelberg SM 74-4L

N Subramanian of Sudarsan Graphics says that a Heidelberg SM 74-4L is a best buy for commercial printers having short to medium to high volume printing.

09 May 2013 | By PrintWeek India

What does the machine do? 
It is an offset machine capable of printing four colours. It has an online coating facility for applying aqueous water-based varnish in one pass. The machine is equipped with IR drier and hot air blowers. The printed sheet comes out dried due to coating and combination of IR drying and hot air blowing.  

Why did you choose this particular machine? 
A Heidelberg will work over an entire life span owing to superlative German engineering. Moreover, since we only have Heidelbergs we always have the flexibility to change the jobs to other machines if there is a breakdown. 
Did you look at any similar machines? 
Yes. We looked at Komori Lithrone 428 and Roland. 
Why did you make the purchase? 
Our investment is partly to boost the capacity and partly to replace our existing machine. We had to replace our existing machine for want of space, and this new machine is capable of printing fast and at high speed with precision. 
How fast is it?
The maximum production speed is 13,000 copies per hour, but we are printing at a speed of 10,000 copies per hour.
What features do you particularly like?
It is definitely the online coating and fast drying. We are really enjoying this feature because most of our commercial jobs are work and turn. We are able to print both sides immediately, thereby gaining lot of time.  
How reliable is it? 
It is very reliable and able to run 24 hours and 365 days.  
What’s the quality like?
The quality is excellent and remains consistent even after many years. For example our existing four colour machine is made in the year 1984. You cannot say that the machine is over 20 years old if you study its printing quality with respect to dot gain, uniformity and registration.  
How easy is it to use? 
Extremely easy! Since the new machine is fully loaded, the entire operations and the controls are carried out by one person from the console using the Touchscreen. 
How much time or money has it saved? 
We are using this machine only for the past six weeks. We are sure it will run to our full expectations, which will result in lot of savings. 
Has it won you any new work? 
We will be shortly using some of the special coated and recycled paper and boards in some of our prestigious jobs. This will attract many customers at a later date.   
Would you say that it offers value for money?
Definitely yes. Though the price of the machine is high, in the long run there will be good return on investment.  
Were there any difficulties experienced during the installation or after? 
All the parameters like air conditioner, voltage stabiliser, civil work and the interiors were preplanned and kept ready. The machine was installed within three days of arrival, and the production samples were taken within few days of installation. There are no difficulties experienced till now.    
Whom do you think the machine is right for?
It is best for commercial printers having short to medium to high volume printing. 
What about the pre and after-sale service? 
Heidelberg India is the best in sales, service and support.  
Under what circumstances would you buy another?
If the demand and volume of jobs increases, I may consider buying another.

User’s verdict
Speed 5/5
Quality 5/5
Reliability 5/5
Value for money5/5