The Printmaster was offered as the ideal press for commercial print shops focusing on growth in the B2 format. It was only available with low-pile delivery, excluding extras such as coating.
Limited to a maximum of four colours, either straight or perfecting, it was seen as a competitively priced machine suited to newcomers or businesses running single-shift operations. At the time of its launch, the machine was fitted with an EasyPlate clamping device with automatic plate cylinder positioning run. By drupa 2004, Autoplate was added to offer printers more functionality.
Other options, such as a single-suction tape feeder, were also added. The feature improved feeder register and sheet transfer in the press. Vario dampening was also introduced, allowing users to run finer films of moisture by ensuring a good ink and water balance, at the same time eliminating mistakes from the sheet. “So many people insist on Vario it’s almost a must-have for any discerning printer,” says Richard Bradley, Heidelberg marketing manager for sheetfed 35×50.
Blanket and impression cylinder wash were always included on the PM 74, but after Drupa 2004 ink roller wash became available. Prinect online kit also allowed the machine to be integrated into the Prinect workflow, not only receiving CIP3 data for setting up the press, but also returning production data to management for costing purposes.
“Suddenly, a fairly low-cost, standalone press could become part of a sophisticated workflow, ensuring that the investment was justified,” explains Bradley.
The machine was also fitted with PressControl, an end-of-press control panel. With this system the press would have laser-slit ink ducts controlled manually by the operator. For more automation, users could choose the Prinect Classic Center; this allowed computer-controlled ink zones and ducts to be built into the machine.
In 2006, Heidelberg made alcohol-free printing available on the press when it added the Ecocolor dampening system to all PM 74s. Ecocolor works with 100% isopropanol-free dampening solutions, and could not be retrofitted to older models.
The limited amount of units restricted the machine’s appeal, but despite this more than 2,000 units were sold worldwide, and more than 100 in the UK. At this year’s drupa, the PM 74 will be replaced by the Speedmaster SM 74; a five-colour press will become available with low-pile delivery.
Although production of the PM 74 stopped last month, Heidelberg will still take back old models as part-exchange and sell used machines. The company has 146 press engineers based around the country, and spare parts are guaranteed for a minimum of 20 years after production of the machine has ceased.
“The Printmaster is a solid workhorse that anyone looking for a reliable but not overly automated machine should certainly look hard at,” adds Bradley.
Speed max 13,000 sheets per hour
Max number of units four
Largest sheet 530x740mm
Smallest sheet Straight printing: 210x280mm
Largest print format 510x740mm
Prinect Classic Center
Alcolor Vario Function
What to look for
• General wear and tear
Supplier: Heidelberg Australia and New Zealand
Read the original article at www.printweek.com.
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