Epson UK announces inkjet strategy

April 7, 2014

Epson Stylus Pro 4900 production printer

Epson Stylus Pro 4900 production printer

OEM aims to become “number one player” in production print with launch of more than 10 new inkjet printers over next 18 months.

Print Week reported on Epson UK’s intention to become the leading player in the commercial, signage, textile and label markets through the implementation of a new inkjet strategy; which will involve the release of more than 10 new inkjet printers by 2016.

The OEM plans to expand its portfolio of professional production printers to 33 models within 18 months by “continuing to spend approximately £1.2 million ($2 million/€1.45 million) per day”, or six percent of its annual turnover, on R&D.

All of Epson UK’s new products will feature its PrecisionCore thin-film piezo ink head technology introduced last October, with more details on the product launches expected to be available at the end of April.

Phil McMullin, UK Sales Manager, Epson UK Pro Graphics Division, said: “Our long-term desire is that we are number one player in all of the markets we have now entered. Clearly that is not going to happen tomorrow; this is a long term ambition. We believe the technology we have developed puts us in a strong position to develop that over the coming decade.”

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Epson applies for refillable cartridge method patent in Europe

March 27, 2014

An image from the patent application

An image from the patent application

The OEM has applied for the patent, which refers to the “method for manufacturing a refilled cartridge”.

The application, EP 2 689 932 A2, has quite a high degree of potential relevance to the remanufacturing industry, because it discusses the refilling of “printing material after use of a cartridge”, meaning that Epson is intending for this to be a method of refilling a used cartridge.

The document discusses the different compositional stages of the construction of the cartridge, and in its text elaborates on the method of refilling the cartridge, including a “chamber of variable capacity adapted to be filled with printing material”, and a “flexible film” operating as a “detection section that optically detects the printing material inside the chamber”.

The key part of the method described relates to the “refilling [of] the printing material into the chamber so that a designated volume of air exists inside the chamber after refilling of the printing material is completed”. Whilst an examination of the patent is still progressing, this could have implications for the refilling and remanufacturing industry in terms of what Epson aims to patent.

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Epson introduces new WorkForce Pro printer range

March 21, 2014

Epson WorkForce Pro printer

Epson WorkForce Pro printer

New business colour printer and MFP range with 75,000-page ink cartridges to be available from Epson, with release date yet to be confirmed.

Techradar reported on the new “game changing” WorkForce Pro printer and MFP range unveiled by Epson, which are equipped with a new Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) technology that means users will be able to print up to 75,000 pages before needing to replace the ink cartridges.

The range consists of four models “exclusively available through select print service partners” under MPS agreement – the WorkForce Pro WF-5690DWF and WF-5620DWF MFPs and WF5190DW and WF-5110DW colour printers; all of which come with Epson’s piezo-electric technology, PrecisionCore, which purportedly “doubles print quality while doubling […] print speeds”.

The devices have a default colour print speed of 30 ppm and a mono print speed of 34 ppm; with the MFPs also able to scan at 19 ppm with a 35-page duplex automatic document feeder (ADF). They also feature colour touchscreen displays. All four devices have a maximum duty cycle of 35,000 pages per month, but with Epson estimating that “the bulk of the business printers will churn between 1500 and 2,500 pages per month”, the ink could last for “up to four years” which is “well beyond the average printer life expectancy”.

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Epson applies for inkjet refilling patent

February 24, 2014

The OEM is attempting to patent the process of refilling an inkjet cartridge in Europe. 

An image from Epson's patent application

An image from Epson’s patent application

Epson’s patent application, EP 2 669 092 A2, holds significance for the refilling industry in Europe, as it relates to a method of refilling ink in an inkjet cartridge, with a translucent part of the cartridge allowing a refiller to see how much ink remains within the cartridge.

This document could become important for refillers and remanufacturers in future, as it seeks to patent the method of refilling of this particular cartridge. Epson is not the first OEM to apply for or be granted a patent relating to refilling or remanufacturing a cartridge: Brother on two occasions and Canon have patented remanufacturing methods for certain cartridges in Europe.

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Epson joins OEM mobile printing alliance

February 13, 2014

The OEM has joined the Mopria Alliance to “advance mobile printing”.Mopria_TM_Alliance_Pos_rgb_092413

Epson announced that it has joined the Mopria Alliance, an organisation of OEMs “working to promote the expansion of mobile printing”, which was set up in September 2013 and includes Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox among its membership.

Epson noted that the alliance was formed to “bring together the mobile, software and print industries with the goal of aligning standards that ensure printing is universally compatible from any mobile device to any printer, anywhere”. With 50 billion mobile devices estimated to be in use by 2020, the alliance is “focused on making wireless printing […] simple and standardised”.

The OEM also stated that the alliance’s aims include “breaking down barriers between brands by eliminating the need for users to download multiple print solutions”, or print drivers, as well as “creating a better, easier and more accessible user experience” in addition to “using Mopria as a way to educate consumers and businesses” about mobile printing.

Ian Cameron, Global Communications at Epson, stated: “The Mopria Alliance is dedicated to advancing mobile printing to allow busy people on-the-go to conveniently print wherever or whenever, regardless of brand or operating system. Epson is committed to making printing as easy as possible for its customers, and is honoured to collaborate with like-minded organisations to improve how we meet and anticipate customer needs in today’s increasing mobile culture.”

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PrintFleet partners with Epson for MPS technology

February 4, 2014

Epson L550The software provider will help enable the OEM’s business printers to work in MPS programmes.

The agreement between the two companies will “optimise the data collection process” for Epson’s business printers, with the PrintFleet software able to “accurately and rapidly collect, analyse and deliver data” from the business machines to Epson’s MPS systems.

The two companies noted that this will make it “optimal for IT network professional and dealers […] to remotely monitor and manage” printer fleets in MPS programmes, with the PrintFleet software enabling the software company to “remotely monitor all of the printing, imaging and copying devices” in a printer fleet in “real-time”, allowing for changes to be made instantly.

Alfredo Soto, Group Manager for New Printing Solutions at Epson America, stated: “Through this joint effort, resellers and distributors can enhance their customer offerings, enabling ease-of-management and the ability to provide more intelligent data collection and analytics of their print environment. PrintFleet’s comprehensive and scalable data collection technology enables our reseller partners to deliver new levels of service, ultimately helping increase printing reliability and cost savings.”

David Morrow, Chief Commercial Officer at PrintFleet, added: “As a marketplace leader, Epson has always delivered high quality, cost-effective business imaging solutions. The difference now is that both companies’ engineering teams are working together to ensure that PrintFleet’s software collects accurate and comprehensive Epson device data. We are confident this enhanced collaboration will benefit the reseller community with reduced costs, improved service levels and more effective MPS deployments.”

PrintFleet recently implemented a new MPS software programme called LINK, and has signed up three companies as partners: PrintReleaf, Supplies Network and Compass Sales Solutions.

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Epson to enter commercial 3D printing market

December 13, 2013

Minoru Usui

Minoru Usui

President of OEM says Epson is to move beyond its traditional product range and is developing 3D printers for commercial applications.

The Age reported on an interview conducted by Fairfax Media in which Epson President Minoru Usui spoke of striving for originality and looking into new types of products, as he reportedly stated that other technology companies such as Apple and Samsung lack “originality”.

Usui used the two companies’ smartphone models as an example, commenting that “if you take them apart then you’ll find that they’re basically all using the same displays, they’re using the same batteries, the same condensers, the same parts”.

He then went on to assert that Epson plans to focus on “actual originality” and on creating “things that other companies simply cannot”; listing wearable technology and 3D printing as areas of interest for the company.

In terms of 3D printers, Usui explained that Epson would be focused on commercial applications for large-scale production environments rather than models aimed at the consumer market, which he described as “niche” and “very limited” due to the types of materials they can use to create objects. He added that he did not expect the consumer 3D printing market to become “all that big” and believes that interest in the market would be “temporary”, claiming that it had been encouraged by a speech made by US President Obama in February in which 3D printing was mentioned.

Usui also talked about Epson’s foray into the wearable technology market, which he said would be “a big area of expansion” for the company. “We’re aiming to create products that will be able to illustrate what’s happening inside your body […] so you can track changes over time,” he said. ”As far as I’m aware there are no products on the market today that can achieve this by simply just using sensors.”

Lightweight, augmented reality headgear is another area that Epson is focused on, with Usui claiming that “the scope for products like this is immense in various applications”.

Usui said: “I don’t want Epson to be just known as a printer maker or projector maker […] I want to take it to be a company [that] understands [what] people in different areas of the world want.”

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Epson introduces Amazon tablet printing compatibility

December 6, 2013

The OEM’s Connect-enabled devices will now be able to print from Amazon Kindle tablets.kindlefire

The announcement outlined the support from the OEM for Amazon’s Kindle Fire Printing solution, which is contained within the company’s Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets, allowing users to print directly to Epson Connect-enabled printers, “making it easier than ever for users to wirelessly print documents, photos, appointments and emails”.

The new tablets are the first Amazon devices to offer built-in wireless printing, with a free built-in viewer application that allows users to “preview Microsoft Office files and print instantly” to save “valuable time and money”. The two tablet models simply require a free operating system upgrade, the Fire OS 3.1 release, and once this is installed, the wireless printing “can be set up in a matter of seconds”.

Ian Cameron, General Manager of Sales and Marketing Support at Epson, stated: “Amazon just gave mobile productivity a huge boost, enabling Kindle Fire users to go beyond leisure and entertainment and use their tablets to stay connected and get the job done.

“Collaboration and innovation are an important part of Epson’s strategy to drive home and business productivity via powerful mobile printing solutions across a range of devices and platforms. Today’s on-the-go users require multifunctional, easy-to-use options, and support of the new family of Kindle Fire tablets provides yet another convenient and powerful way to access, share and print from anywhere.”

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Epson releases Google-linked device and new wide-format machines

November 21, 2013

The OEM’s two new launches are released in the USA and Philippines respectively.

Epson's Expression Premium XP610

Epson’s Expression Premium XP610

Consumer Electronics Net reported first on the US release of the Epson Expression Premium XP-610, a “small-in-one” inkjet machine that can wirelessly connect to Google Chromebook laptops for printing, scanning and other functions. The machine, set to be exclusively available at US retailer Best Buy, also offers cloud functionality.

The printer is the “first […] to integrate” with Chromebooks in such a way, with Epson America’s Patrick Chen, Product Manager of Mobile Connectivity, stating: “Working closely with Google, we’ve made it easier than ever to setup and then print from your Chromebook no matter where you are. Chromebooks are one of the fastest growing segments of the PC industry and expanding wireless printing convenience directly enhances creativity and productivity for home, school and business users.”

Manila Standard Today meanwhile reported on the launch of two Epson wide-format sign printers in the Philippines, both of which utilise 1.5 litre high-capacity ink tanks. The SureColor SC-B6070 and SCB7070 feature sizes of 44 inches and 64 inches respectively, and are said by the OEM to be used for “high quality indoor signage printing” using its dye-based inks.

The tanks “can be refilled even while the printers are in operation”, Epson notes, and “represent a superior solution to third-party ink tanks that are not made by the original printer manufacturer”. The OEM has also noted that “there is no warranty coverage for their installation or else when non-original inks cause damage”, with both machines utilising Epson’s Micro Piezo thin film printhead.

Other features included in the two machines are a print resolution of 1440 x 1400dpi, as well as print speeds of up to 69.5 square metres per hour. The ink tanks also feature filters “to prevent contamination of the printhead”, and the machines also utilise a “low ink level warning system” to prevent misprints. The SC-B6070 and SC-B7070 are available for Php 340,900 ($7,793/€5,802) and Php 799,900 ($18,270/€13,614) respectively.

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Further typhoon relief aid donated by OEMs

November 21, 2013

imagesCAFU0LCRFuji Xerox pledges ¥10 million to help relief efforts in the Philippines, as Epson provides additional aid to the cause.

Asia One reported that Fuji Xerox and its affiliates are to donate ¥10 million ($99,000/€74,000) towards relief efforts in the Philippines following the mass destruction and loss of life caused by Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the region on 8 November.

An internal call for donations will be held by the OEM’s Singapore office on 28 November to help staff members who have been affected by the typhoon, which resulted in thousands of deaths and the destruction of homes.

Bert Wong, CEO of Fuji Xerox Singapore, expressed condolences to the victims in a statement, which read: “Our hearts go out to the people of the Philippines who have been impacted by this devastating typhoon”.

Fuji Xerox has been operating in the Philippines for over 45 years; with the OEM adding that its facilities in the region remain intact, with IT systems running as normal.

Meanwhile Epson has also announced that it has increased the amount of aid it had initially pledged following the typhoon “in view of the extent of devastation” caused, with the company now donating Php 4.2 million ($96,000/€71,000) towards the recovery efforts in the Philippines.

The aid consists of a Php 2 million ($46,000/€34,000) donation by Epson’s affiliates in the Philippines, Epson Precision (Philippines) Inc. and Epson Philippines Corporation, and Seiko Epson Corporation; and a Php 2.2 million ($50,000/€37,000) donation by Epson employees in the Philippines. It has been presented by the OEM’s Global President, Minoru Usui, to the Philippines Business for Social Progress, which is providing relief and recovery assistance to the typhoon-affected areas.

Epson had originally pledged a donation of Php2 million, but had added that it would “consider further support when the full affects of the typhoon are known”; with Canon also donating  ¥10 million ($100,359/€74,971 to the cause.

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