Epson America releases new WorkForce range

December 9, 2014

Epson's WF-8590

Epson’s WF-8590

The OEM has launched the Pro 8000 A3 inkjet series for small businesses.

eWeek reported on Epson America’s release of the WorkForce Pro 8000 A3 inkjet range, consisting of the WF-8590 and WF-8090 printers and designed to “deliver colour printing with low intervention for small businesses and corporate workgroups”. The devices utilise the OEM’s PrecisionCore printheads, and include a wide range of features for business users.

These include a universal printer driver, PIN number security for controlled user access, web security including SSL (secure sockets layer) and IPsec (internet protocol security), print speeds of up to 24ppm, a duty cycle of up to 75,000 pages, and the ability to use a “variety of media” including envelopes and labels. The WF-8590 is an MFP and the WF-8090 a single-function printer, and both have cartridges with yields of 7,000 pages in colour, as well as paper capacity of 1,830 sheets.

Other features consist of automatic duplexing, wireless connectivity, compatibility with Epson’s mobile printing app Wi-Fi Direct, and cloud scanning and printing. The devices are also able to use PrintFleet, ECi and other MPS software solutions, and are enabled for “remote printer data collection”, and will be available from January 2015.

Larry Trevarthen, Epson America’s Director of Business Imaging, stated: “Epson printers are designed to address secure printing and also integrate seamlessly into network printing environments from small to large organisations. As companies seek to manage costs and use more centralised printing devices versus desktop devices, end-users who require secure printing need solutions with functionality that allows print jobs to be completed only after they identify themselves to the printer, so other end users are unable to collect the print job.

“Today’s office printers must be flexible enough to print from the variety of business applications that customers are using for their information needs. While 10 years ago a printer could suffice with great PC and network connectivity, today’s office printer must be compatible with web applications, wireless networks, mobile and tablet devices, and cloud services. Therefore, customers want to be able to convert their information to paper seamlessly from any of these touch points and devices, without the need to bring it back to a PC for local or network printing.”

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Epson announces new Filipino printer plant

December 3, 2014

The plant will open in spring 2017, use solar power for half of its electricity consumption, and require 20,000 staff.

Epson's Filipino plant - the new site is marked out in blue

Epson’s Filipino plant – the new site is marked out in blue

The announcement from Epson noted that its subsidiary, Epson Precision (Philippines) Inc., will “construct a new plant for increasing inkjet printer and 3LCD project production volumes” at its existing site in Batanga, with ¥12.3 billion ($10.3 million/€8.3 million) to be invested in the plant’s “state-of-the-art” facilities. The OEM added that it will be “constructed inside the existing site by the early part of 2017”, with operations “slated to begin” in spring that year.

Epson revealed in turn that it plans to “install a mega solar power generation system” on the roof of the new building, which will utilise its approximate capacity of 3,000 kWh to “reduce overall daytime electricity consumption […] by half”. The decision to extend the plant comes from Epson’s implementation of its “mid-range business plan”, which has determined its current inkjet printer and projector manufacturing sites – in China, Indonesia and the Philippines – are “insufficient to meet expected demand”.

In terms of inkjet printers specifically, Epson has predicted the need to “significantly boost production capacity” for the high-capacity ink tank printers it produces, which are “currently experiencing rapid growth”, as well as for office inkjets, which are said to be making “steady inroads into the market”. The OEM also referred to the growth in demand for projectors in business and education, and that it believes its growth in this market will “surpass” its competitors.

Finally, it noted that the workforce at the current site – which is 12,500 – will expand to 20,000 to “respond to the planned increase in production”, while the construction of the new plant “will have no material impact” on the OEM’s results at the end of the financial year. The new site will take up 100,000 square metres of the site’s 230,000 square metre footprint, with the existing buildings only taking up 85,000 square metres.

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Epson wins two marketing awards

November 27, 2014

Epson-Team-Receiving-the-Gold-AwardOEM picks up awards in Singapore for its ‘ThINK Outside the Printer’ campaign.

Manila Standard Today reported that Epson Southeast Asia won two Marketing Excellence Awards – the Gold Award for Excellence in Marketing Communications and the Silver Award for Excellence in Integrated Marketing B2B, with the awards organised by Singapore-based Marketing Magazine.

The OEM won the awards for its ‘ThINK Outside the Printer’ campaign, which has been running over two phases since February 2014 and is targeted at SOHOs and SMEs in Southeast Asia that may benefit from using ink tank printers. The first award “recognises the best marketing campaign, initiative or programme that conveys compelling messages to its target audience while driving core business objectives”; while the second award “recognises the best organisation that effectively engages its B2B partners through an integrated marketing strategy by employing a suite of marketing tools and media channels while driving core business objectives”.

The campaign included a media strategy comprising “print and out-of-home (OOH) advertising, in-store communications, social media, and SME event activations” covering Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. It also included the creation of a marketing video, ‘The Interview’, which was viewed over 600,000 times on the OEM’s YouTube channel.

Endo Koichi, Managing Director for Epson Southeast Asia, said: “We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our efforts from such a prestigious organisation […] Epson is redefining and challenging the printer category with the introduction of the original ink tank printers. The research data shows ink tank printers are gaining market traction and disruption has started. We have a unique value proposition, what was needed in this region was a consistent message coupled with high brand and product visibility delivered through a cohesive media strategy.”

Meanwhile Siew Jin Kiat, General Manager, Inkjet and Laser Printing Division at Epson Southeast Asia, said: “Among the more traditional source[s] of influence like OOH, newspaper, and magazines, small businesses make their printer purchases from researching online, walking up to stores and talk[ing] to promoters, and base[d] on word-of-month […] the opportunity is there for us to introduce ink tank printers into their minds to change their perceptions before the next decision cycle.”

According to the Manila Standard Today, “Epson saw an increase in inkjet market share” during the second quarter of the year compared to the first “as a result of the campaign”.

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Epson launches new WorkForce Pro range

November 20, 2014

Epson's WorkForce 5690DWF

Epson’s WorkForce 5690DWF

The WorkForce Pro 5000 series features the newest PrecisionCore printhead technology.

ITWeb reported on the launch of the range in the South African market, though this is the first release of machines aimed at businesses to use the new printheads, which were announced last September, and since the OEM revealed it had expanded its production capacity to create more of the printheads.

The WorkForce Pro 5000 series consists of a range of single and multi-function printers “designed to offer high quality output, durability, and cost and energy efficiency” for businesses. The four machines include the WF-5690DWF, WF-5190DW, WF-5620DWF and the WF-5110DW2, and Epson says that they are “designed to cut costs and reduce environmental impact”.

Their features include high-capacity inkjet cartridges with yields of 4,000 pages, a “50 percent lower cost per page than competitive colour lasers”, a permanent PrecisionCore printhead that “means there are fewer components to replace”, 80 percent lower energy consumption “compared to colour lasers”, and print speeds of 34ppm in monochrome and 30ppm in colour. Other inclusive features are a monthly duty cycle of 35,000 pages, automatic duplexing, wireless and mobile connectivity, and Epson DURABrite Ultra ink in the cartridges.

Kelvin Reynolds, General Manager of Epson South Africa, stated: “PrecisionCore offers a leap forward in printing performance. We continue to deliver outstanding quality thanks to superior dot control, and have now introduced a new and original system to ensure reliability.

“Together with our new PrecisionCore technology, the new WorkForce Pro 5000 series offers small, medium and large businesses a new approach to printing based on choice, performance, economy and ecology. We have responded to users’ demands for high-quality, reliable, functional, high-performance and cost-effective products, which this new printer series will deliver.”

Epson also previously added WorkForce machines that featured the new technology in September earlier this year.

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Epson offers free tablet with printers

November 7, 2014

The OEM is running a European promotion until the end of the year.

Epson's Stylus Pro 3880 and the Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch

Epson’s Stylus Pro 3880 and the Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch

The Drum reported on Epson’s “pan-European” promotion with ATOM Marketing, which offers printer consumers who buy a Stylus Pro 3880 machine a free tablet computer, a Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch. The tablet, according to the website, “allows users to edit and perfect digital images, complementing the printer’s high-end photo printing capabilities”, and the promotion “is currently live and runs until the end of the year”.

Andy Duff, Managing Director of ATOM Marketing, stated: “In a market saturated by cash back offers, the Wacom graphics tablet promotion differentiates Epson from their competitors by communicating a unique offering. Customers purchasing this printer tend to be photo enthusiasts, and as the Wacom graphics tablet is perfect for photo editing, this will be a very desirable promotional marketing campaign.”

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Epson releases smallest inkjet in USA

November 5, 2014

Epson's WorkForce WF-100

Epson’s WorkForce WF-100

The WorkForce WF-100 is designed for “professionals on-the-go”.

The device is similar to the one launched in September in Europe – the WorkForce WF-100W – and is also referred to as the “world’s smallest and lightest mobile printer” with built-in wireless connectivity and an “integrated rechargeable battery” to enable “printing from nearly anywhere”.

The printer’s Wi-Fi Direct feature allows for printing “without a router”, whilst the in-built battery can charge via USB or an AC adapter, and an automatic “power-off” feature helps save battery life. Epson added that the prints are “professional-quality business documents”, whilst the speeds include 6.7 ISO ppm in black and 3.8 ISO ppm in colour for borderless four-inch by six-inch photos.

The mobile printing features allow compatibility with a wide range of Epson and third-party mobile printing programmes, including Epson’s Connect suite consisting of Email Print, Creative Print, iPrint, Remote Print and others. The third-party mobile printing offerings meanwhile include Android, Kindle Fire and Google Cloud Print support.

Nils Madden, Epson America’s Marketing Director for Desktop Imaging and Printing, stated: “Mobile devices are critical tools for professionals, and the sleek, portable, wireless WorkForce WF-100 augments the mobile experience, enabling users to stay productive on-the-go. The WorkForce WF-100 not only expands our portfolio of business printing solutions, but underscores our commitment to delivering tools that meet the evolving needs of today’s mobile workforce.”

The WorkForce WF-100 is available online now, and in stores from January 2015, for $349.99 (€280.12).

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Epson Ink Tank printers boost performance in India

November 3, 2014

Minoru Usui, President of Seiko Epson

Minoru Usui, President of Seiko Epson

Ink Tank technology contributes to OEM’s recent strong performance in the Indian inkjet printer market.

CRN reported on an interview with Minoru Usui, President of Seiko Epson, who discussed the company’s growth in India’s printer market over the past few years, claiming that it has “beaten HP to become market leader”.

In the past two to three years, Epson’s Indian operations have grown between 18 and 20 percent CAGR, according to Usui, with a revenue of Rs 880 crore ($143.3 million/€114.6 million) in the 2013-2014 financial year compared to Rs 703 crore ($114.5 million/€91.6 million) in the previous year. For the current fiscal, Usui said “we are on track to exceed Rs 1,000 crore ($163 million/€130.3 million), and over the next two fiscals we have a target to cross Rs 1,400 crore ($228.2 million/€182.5 million)”.

The recent strong performance has been attributed to the OEM’s “revolutionary” Ink Tank technology printers, which has “drastically reduced the cost per page” to 12 paise ($0.002/€0.002) per page for mono and 25 paise ($0.004/€0.003) per page for colour. Usui said: “Due to the growing popularity of Ink Tank, we have gained leadership in the inkjet market, beating HP with a value market share of 44 percent versus HP’s 39 percent,” compared to a market share of just 26 percent in the 2011-2012 financial year. He added that the technology has also allowed the company to increase “market share in the inkjet segment globally”.

Explaining the success of Epson’s Ink Tank printers, Usui said that they “have been hugely popular in the small business segment”, with the SMB segment accounting for “nearly 70 percent of the Ink Tank printers sold”, with the rest split evenly between the home consumer and mid-market and large enterprises segments.

He added: “We believe there is a huge opportunity which we can tap in the mid-market and large enterprise segments—including PSUs and the government sector—and our initiatives are aimed at achieving these targets. We have set a challenging target of replacing three lakh (300,000) laser printers within these customer segments over the next two years.”

However, Usui noted that “this target is challenging” as “it requires a change in mind-set among these customers who for years have been using laser printers and have a large fleet across their branches. These customers are still unaware that Epson Ink Tank printers offer the same features as lasers but at a much lower TCO(total cost of ownership)”.

To tackle this, Epson has in the past eight months conducted road shows in 43 cities to try to change customers’ opinions on inkjet printing, as well as providing “more than 500 demo units” to customers, “many” of which “have become convinced about our TCO and have bought our products”, according to Usui.

A further challenge is presented by the current tendering system of these customers, which “is centred around the lowest bid rather than the lowest TCO of printing”. As a result, Epson has spent the past six to eight months “working with government buying agencies to educate them about the TCO concept in the tendering system”, with Usui stating that the company is “hopeful that things will change. Once that happens we will be able to participate in large tenders which will significantly boost out market leadership”.

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Epson sees inkjets boost revenue

October 31, 2014

The OEM’s quarterly results saw revenue increase by 17.1 percent, with inkjets making up 74 percent of segment revenue.

Epson's RIPS bags

Epson’s RIPS bags

The results saw the OEM reveal a revenue increase for the quarter of 17.1 percent to ¥266.5 billion ($2.3 billion/€1.8 billion), with the information equipment segment – including printers, consumables and MPS – growing in revenue year-over-year by 20 percent to ¥221.4 billion ($1.9 billion/€1.5 billion).

Epson stated that “revenue and business profit exceeded our business plan owing to yen depreciation and steady growth in each of the businesses in the information equipment segment”. The information equipment segment “saw printing systems increase” year-over-year by 16.2 percent, to ¥169.2 billion ($1.5 billion/€1.2 billion), and Epson noted that inkjet printer revenue was “up on strategic growth in high-capacity ink tank models and consumables sales”, making up 74 percent of the information equipment segment.

The high-capacity ink tank models, which The Recycler reported on earlier this year, have seen “solid growth in emerging markets” and “began selling in Western Europe” in the second half of the year, with the OEM projecting sales of 2.5 million units worldwide by the end of the 2014 financial year. In turn, both MPS and RIPS (the replaceable ink pack systems used in the ink tank machines), saw orders “growing smoothly in Japan”, with “customer response favourable”, and sales begun in Western Europe “on schedule”.

The information equipment unit also saw “strong consumables sales” and strong POS (point of sale) machine sales in Europe and the USA. Predictions for the second half of the year from the OEM included “no major changes expected in business environment or plan assumptions”, but “performance-linked expenses [will] increase”, and an increase in expenditures has been postponed”.

In terms of the information equipment segment, one positive prediction from the OEM is that “unit shipments of high-capacity ink tank models and projectors [will] increase”, but it warns that “special factors affecting inkjet consumables” and “investment in strategic product sales promotions” will affect the unit’s half year results”. It expects that the segment will grow to ¥888 billion ($7.9 billion/€6.3 billion), with ¥686 billion ($6.1 billion/€4.8 billion) from printing systems for a 35.3 percent year-over-year increase – inkjet printers are set to make up 75 percent of this revenue.

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Epson UK launches new SureColor photo printer

October 3, 2014

images-3The SureColor SC-P600 will be released in November.

Amateur Photographer reported on Epson’s announcement regarding the new photo printer – the SureColor SC-600 – with the OEM stating that “the printer has the industry’s ‘highest black density’” – “producing ‘deep, rich blacks and ultra-smooth tonal gradations’”, when it was compared with its rival printers in July 2014.

The printer will feature a new, nine-colour UltraChrome HD inkset and vivid magenta ink, and is reportedly aimed at amateur and ‘semi-professional’ photographers. The machine will also include built in Wi-Fi, a 2.7in touch panel and is designed to “deliver an 11x14in print in 153 seconds”.

The Epson SureColor SC-P600 photo printer is due to arrive in the UK market in November, priced at £570.99 ($931.34/€725.33).


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Epson to reverse OEM business model

October 2, 2014

Epson EcoTank L355

Epson EcoTank L355

New EcoTank printers with refillable tanks priced higher, but consumables will last average home printer users two years.

The Guardian reported on Epson’s decision to reverse its business model by making it cheaper for users to run home printers rather than relying on the price of consumables for profit, with the refillable ink tanks included in its new printers expected to last two years based on a monthly print volume of 200 pages.

The new EcoTank L355 and L555 inkjet printers are to be “priced to make profit on sale”, with prices starting at £249 ($403/€319) compared to the typical high street price of £70to£80 ($113/€90to$129/€102). To compensate for this, the devices use refillable tanks which, while adding “about a quarter” to the printer’s size, will mean users save 60to65 percent compared to buying replacement ink cartridges. Interestingly, Epson has also reportedly stated that users will be able to refill the tank with non-Epson branded ink once it runs out.

Consumer printing has been in decline in many regions in recent years, with Lexmark and Kodak quitting the business in 2012. This has been due to many people choosing not to print due to increased digitisation, or turning to “cheaper generic cartridges” due to the high cost of buying replacement OEM cartridges, some of which were found to only contain two millimetres of ink. The Guardian also noted that sales at Epson “fell by 25 percent between 2009 and 2013”, although they “recovered partly in 2014” after making a profit in the financial year to March 2014 “after making losses in three of the previous five years”.

Noting the “aggressive marketing tactics” some OEMs have taken “to discourage refills from cheaper generic ink makers”, along with “encrypted chip technology designed to make consumers buy branded cartridges”, the article states that there is an “intense battle between main manufacturers […] and ‘remanufacturers’”, which it notes “have grabbed a third of UK sales, at the same time as counterfeit cartridges from China are flooding the country”.

By buying a printer with a tank, Epson said that “relatively heavy users of cartridge inks would find themselves making significant savings”, although those with “high printing needs” may want to consider using a laser printer, which have lower cost-per-page.

Pocket-lint reported that the EcoTank printers come with a one-year or 30,000-page warranty.

Simon Hanley, Product Manager at Epson, said: “Complementing our line-up of existing products, these models are ideal for home and small office customers who want to print everyday documents, such as recipes, homework, emails and maps, and for whom price and convenience are key factors. With two years’ worth of ink included, users know where they stand.”

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