Epson releases A3 photo printer

September 2, 2015

SC-P400The SC-P400 is the “the smallest ink droplet size of any A3+ photo printer on the market”, while also being the smallest and lightest of its kind.

The device has a seven-colour UltraChrome HiGloss 2 ink-set with gloss optimiser and is “ideal for amateur photographers”. A “fine art paper path” is included for “museum-quality” prints, which can be easily inserted via the rear-loading tray.

Also featured are two roll paper holders, ensuring “accurate” printing on two-inch core media, while media of up to 1.3mm is also supported, with CD and DVD printing also possible. Users can print wirelessly via the iPrint app and the SC-P400 can be connected to a local network in a photo lab or office via its Ethernet function.

It will be available to buy from 1 November 2015.

Martin Johns, Product Manager for Pro Photo at Epson UK, said: “Completing our new SC-P line-up of pro-photo desktop printers, the SC-P400 is ideal for users who want to create professional results on a range of media.”


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Epson Australia recycles three million inkjet cartridges

August 20, 2015

cartridgesThe OEM division has recycled the cartridges through its Cartridges for Planet Ark (C4PA) programme.

Epson recycles roughly 23,000 cartridges per month through C4PA, and has subscribed to the scheme since its inception in 2003. Canon announced in September 2014 that it had recycled six million cartridges through the project.

Ryan Collins, Recycling Programmes Manager at Planet Ark, said: “We’d like to congratulate Epson on this fantastic achievement. Their commitment to product stewardship helps provide consumers a free and easy way to recycle their cartridges and keeps the materials in use rather than in landfill.”

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USITC Epson case finds respondents in default

August 13, 2015

The USITC's headquarters in Washington D.C.

The USITC’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

In updates from the case begun in January, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has found most of the defendants in default, and settled with two.

The case, which began in December 2014, moved to a section 337 investigation before a potential General Exclusion Order (GEO), and was brought by Epson against 19 aftermarket companies over the infringement of one to five of its inkjet cartridge patents, specifically in terms of chips on “on-carriage cartridges” from a previous GEO. However, a wide range of the defendants did not respond to the USITC’s claims, and have been found in default.

Failure to respond to the claims “may be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to appear and contest the allegations”, as well as to “authorise the administrative law judge” and the USITC itself to “find the facts to be as alleged in the complaint”, with those companies that do not contest nor respond to the allegations found guilty in their absence and subject to the GEO if passed.

The companies found in default, after failing to respond or show “cause why they should not be found in default, include: Huebon Co., Ltd; Chanchen Co., Ltd.; Yotat Group Co., Ltd.; Ourway lmage C0., Ltd.; Shanghai Orink Infotech Intemational Co., Ltd.; Orink Infotech International Co., Ltd.; Kingway Image Co., Ltd.; Zhuhai Chinamate Technology Co., Ltd.; Yotat (Zhuhai) Technology Co., Ltd.; Zhuhai Richeng Development Co., Ltd.; Dongguan OcBestjet Printer Consumables Co., Ltd.; OeBestjet Printer Consumables (HK) Co., Ltd.; Zinyaw LLC; InlcPro2day, LLC; Aomya Printer Consumables (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd.; Zhuhai National Resources & Jingjie Imaging Products Co., Ltd.; and Zhuhai Rich Imaging Technology Co., Ltd.

In turn, the USITC revealed that respondents Zhuhai Nano Digital Technology, Co., Ltd. (China) and Nano Business and Technology, Inc. (USA) (collectively, “Nano Digital”) filed a joint motion with Epson to “terminate the investigation” after having come to a settlement agreement, making Nano Digital the only defendant to settle in the case.

The cartridges at the centre of the case are “installed immediately behind the printhead of inkjet printers”, and the case concerns alleged infringement of five further patents that “relate to the functionality of IC chips on many of the same on-carriage cartridges” covered in the previous GEO in 2006. Epson added that the new case also concerns “many off-carriage cartridges for current Epson business and professional large-format inkjet printers”, with off-carriage cartridges “larger capacity cartridges installed to the side of the printer cartridge and connected to the printhead with ink supply tubes”.

The action was said to “protect against unfair competition”, and seeks to block “all imports of ink cartridges that infringe Epson’s ink cartridge patents” from 19 companies it claims “manufacture, import or distribute” the infringing cartridges. The complaint “requests the ITC to issue a General Exclusion Order prohibiting these companies and all others from importing the infringing cartridges into the United States”.

The OEM previously obtained a GEO in an action in 2006 “that is still enforced” concerning a “broad range of on-carriage cartridges” for both consumer and business inkjet machines. In terms of the US patents named in the action, these include: 8,366,233; 8,454,116; 8,794,749; 8,801,163 and 8,882,513. Among the companies named was Zhuhai Richeng Development Co. Ltd., who apologised to Epson earlier this year. Richeng stated it was sorry for “the inconvenience”, and “will never let this issue happen again”. You can view the letter of apology here.

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Epson launches F-Series SureColor range

August 11, 2015

EpsonThe new dye-sublimination transfer printers include the 44-inch F6200 and the 64-inch F7200 and F9200.

PR Newswire reported on the new devices, which combine Epson UltroChrome DS ink with newly released high-density Black ink for “improved ink efficiency” and density with “better tonal transitions and grayscale for high quality results”.

The F6200 and F7200 have a maximum print speed of 634 square feet per hour, while the F9200 has a maximum print speed of 1,044 square feet per hour. The bulk ink system for the devices are 1.5 litres in size per colour for the F6200 and F7200, and three litres per colour for the F9200.

The F9200 printer uses dual PrecisionCore TFP printheads for “high-speed, industrial-level roll-to-roll” production for repeatable performance. Each of the devices offers continuous productivity with an integral, refillable high-capacity bulk ink system and an “improved” post-platen heater, to facilitate seamless media handling and faster drying times.

Also incorporated in the printers’ design is the Wasatch SoftRIP workflow, enabling users to “start printing sellable output immediately out of the box”, including special features for textile printing. The devices are said to produce “high-quality results” in the “roll-to-roll fabric production, customised promotional production, soft signage, and cut-and-sew sports apparel, fashion, and home décor markets”.

“Since Epson launched its first true dye-sublimation printers in 2013, we have been diligently working to enhance the technology to meet the demands of industrial manufacturers,” said Tim Check, Product Manager of Professional Imaging for Epson America. “Now with the flagship SureColor F9200 providing double the speed and a high-capacity three liter per colour ink supply system, users can print much more efficiently, and with far fewer interruptions.”

The F6200 is priced at $8,495 (€7,682), the F7200 at $15,995 (€14,464) and the F9200 at $25,995 (€23,507).


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Epson names Australian dealer for RIPS printers

August 10, 2015

The OEM has appointed Kayell Australia as its authorised dealer for the replaceable ink pack machines.

Epson's RIPS bags

Epson’s RIPS bags

Wide-Format Online reported on the announcement, which will see the imaging and print services specialists in Australia distribute and sell the RIPS (replaceable ink pack system) printers in the country. The printers, announced last year, are also now on sale in both the USA and the UK.

The litre-sized bags of ink can print around 75,000 pages before being replaced, and the site pointed out that the machines are “an entirely new way for small- to medium- size businesses to cut costs and improve efficiencies”. The printers included in the Australian launch are the WorkForce Pro R5000 and R8000 machines, an MFP and single function respectively.

Andreas Johansson, Sales Director at Kayell Australia, commented: “Kayell have been looking for a range of devices suited to various industry verticals that could resolve various problems some of our clients have had for some time, such as the ability to produce envelopes and labels on the same device. Additionally, this printer is ideal as a proofing solution, to centralise all printing to a single device at lowest cost.

“By producing and releasing RIPS technology Epson have combined the ability to cover general colour print requirements for day-to-day use whilst having the added bonus of utilising specific media stock to deliver perfect customer-facing documentation and imagery. As a result Epson and their RIPS printers are now an important part of Kayell’s technology solution moving forward.”

result Epson and their RIPS printers are now an important part of Kayell’s technology solution moving forward.”

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Epson confident of “considerable gains” in 2015

August 6, 2015

Minoru Usui, President of Seiko Epson

Minoru Usui, President of Seiko Epson

The OEM’s President Minoru Usui spoke at a launch for the recently-revealed EcoTank inkjets.

Barrons reported on Usui’s thoughts on Epson’s future, as he launched the EcoTank inkjet printers featuring “refillable compartments for ink rather than traditional inkjet cartridges”. Usui spoke about Epson’s “printing effort and where Epson stock can go”, noting that he believes stock prices can “easily” rise to over ¥3,000 ($24/€22) per share.

Usui added that he “holds great expectations for the contribution the new printers may make”, with printers holding “two-thirds” of the OEM’s annual sales, and noted that “you may have seen our share price has risen considerably over the last several years, and I see no reason there wouldn’t be considerable gains if this product becomes accepted in the marketplace”. With the share price now around ¥2,200 ($17/€16), Usui believes it can push past ¥3,000, but said it was “difficult to put a time frame” on when.

Focusing on EcoTank, Usui told the news site that the technology “will give serious competition to the LaserJet printers that dominate offices”, commenting that “we have the base in consumer printing and we have now made considerable inroads into commercial printing. The secret will be to gradually scale up, and chip away, and so the first target would be 10 percent of all office use”. He believes laser will decline, as “people want fast printouts, at high quality with low cost”.

This is “possible with laser”, which can “slightly improve in these areas, but not dramatically so”, and with EcoTank using “dramatically less electricity” than laser, he believes “innovation will allow us to take over in two to three years in offices”. The OEM is not abandoning cartridges however, with Usui noting that “we must not forget there are a lot of customers who prefer the cartridge model […] for people who print large quantities the EcoTank has advantages, but we will continue [with the] cartridge model .

“[W]e don’t think this will impact the consumables business for us, [it will create] new opportunities for us rather than cannibalising the current consumables [market]”.

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Epson announces new EcoTank range

August 4, 2015

The range of machines has been cited as “the end of the dreaded printer cartridge”.Epson EcoTank printers

Bloomberg and TechRadar both reported on the new range of EcoTank machines from Epson, which are said to “solve the most annoying problem with inkjet printers” and bring about “the end of the dreaded printer cartridge”. EcoTank models have been launched previously in New Zealand and Singapore, but this new range will be available in the US from September.

The devices include the WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 AIO, the WorkForce ET-4550 AIO, the ET-4500, the Expression ET-2550 and the ET-2500. TechRadar stated that the machines offer the “equivalent of up to 20 previous-generation ink cartridges” in ink capacity, and that “the amount of ink loaded into the EcoTank should last consumers and small businesses for roughly two years”. One disadvantage is said to be that the “compartment specifically designed to house” the ink tanks means “each model is several inches wider and slightly heavier”, however.

The WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 AIO is said to also be the “enterprise darling” of the new printers, because it can produce around 20,000 monochrome and colour pages each from its “initial ink yield”, with a print speed of 20ppm ISO and a 580-sheet paper capacity. The WorkForce ET-4550 meanwhile is “better suited” for smaller businesses, with yields in monochrome and colour of 11,000 and 8,500 pages respectively, alongside speeds of 13ppm and 7.3ppm respectively.

Adding that “the company is smashing its business model to bits” with the new machines, Bloomberg quotes John Lang, CEO of Epson North America, as stating that the machines – which use refillable tanks instead of cartridges – are a “really big advantage to the end user”, as “that anxiety and that fear of running out of ink [has been] so prevalent”. He added that he believes a quarter of printer revenue will come from these models in “a few years”, and stated that Epson didn’t introduce the printers sooner “because it was afraid people would balk at the higher initial price”.

The WorkForce Pro WF-R4640 will be available for $1,199 (€1,093); the Workforce ET-4550 for $499 (€455); the WorkForce ET-4500 for $429 (€391); the Expression ET-2550 for $399 (€363); and the Expression ET-2500 for $379 (€345).

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Epson reports quarterly results

July 30, 2015

The OEM reported increased revenue year-over-year but continued to see

The 2Q2015 results included a year-over-year increase in revenue of six percent, from ¥246.2 billion ($1.9 billion/€1.8 billion) to ¥260.9 billion ($2 billion/€1.9 billion), but business profit fell year-over-year by 29.8 percent to ¥16.5 billion ($132 million/€121 million). The OEM’s printing solutions business saw a 12 percent growth in revenue to dominate the other segments, half of which saw marginal declines in revenue.

Printing solutions in the quarter saw revenue of ¥171.8 billion ($1.3 billion/€1.2 billion), which gave it the 12 percent year-over-year growth from last year’s ¥159.7 billion ($1.2 billion/€1.1 billion), but failed to match either the peak final quarter of the last financial year or the previous quarter. In 4Q2014, the unit generated ¥209.7 billion ($1.6 billion/€1.5 billion) of the OEM’s ¥301.9 billion ($2.4 billion/€2.2 billion) total revenue, while in 1Q2015 it generated ¥185 billion ($1.4 billion/€1.3 billion) of the total ¥271.5 billion ($2.1 billion/€1.9 billion). In turn, it saw a fall of 5.5 percent in business profit as a segment.

The segment’s total revenue saw printers provide ¥118.2 billion ($949 million/€868 million), a 10.4 percent increase on last year, while professional printing and other products provided the remainder. In the printers sub-segment, high-capacity ink tank printer volumes increased, while consumables sales remained “solid”, providing 77 percent of the sales, while serial dot-matrix sales volumes also grew, providing 12 percent of sales. In professional printing, wide-format machines also saw “solid” sales.

Epson stated that there were a number of factors affecting business profit in the quarter, including a “decrease in printing solutions profit”, inkjet cartridge printer manufacturing “increas[ing]” and the “cost of products manufactured overseas” growing. For the whole financial year, and despite the “many elements of uncertainty in the global economy”, Epson has “not revised” its outlooks, but is “smoothly transitioning our businesses in line” with strategies agreed upon.

These include “expand[ing] sales of high-capacity ink tank printers”, “increas[ing] sales of consumables by improving the install base” and “steadily develop[ing] new business areas”. It predicts that printing solutions will see a 26.1 percent increase in revenue over the year to ¥757 billion ($6 billion/€5.5 billion), with printers growing 18.8 percent and professional printing growing 8.8 percent to revenues of ¥530 billon ($4.2 billion/€3.8 billion) and ¥208 billion ($1.6 billion/€1.5 billion) respectively. Inkjet is predicted to provide 79 percent of the revenue, while dot-matrix machines will provide 10 percent.

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Epson releases two new wide-format printers

July 27, 2015

The OEM has launched the SureColor machines, which are dye-sublimation printers.

Epson's SureColor SC-F6200

Epson’s SureColor SC-F6200

PrintWeek reported on the two new devices, the SureColor SC-F7200 and SC-F6200, which are said by Epson to be “ideal for companies producing promotional goods”. The printers replace the SC-F7100 and F6000, and will help users “reliably and cost-effectively produce high-quality textiles and promotional goods”, according to Epson.

The SC-F7200 prints on transfer papers up to 64 inches (1.6m) in width, and at speeds of around 58.9 square metres per hour, while the SC-F6200 can take materials of up to 44 inches (1.1m) in width at speeds of up to 63.4 square metres per hour. Textiles that the devices can print on include clothing, home materials and hard substrates, while both feature a print resolution of up to 720 x 1,400dpi.

The wide-format printers feature Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology in their two TFP printheads, which “work in tandem” with a newly-launched high-density black ink, HDK Black Ink, which Epson says is a “new addition” to its UltraChrome DS ink range. Two-litre waste bottles are also provided for ink disposal, and pricing has not yet been confirmed for the two devices, which will be available in October.

Martin Johns, Epson UK’s Product Manager, stated: “The black ink makes it more attractive to textile customers because you get much more neutral and much denser blacks, so when you’re printing on fabrics it produces much better quality print.

“The SC-F6200 opens up a plethora of new possibilities in the photographic market for printing photos on to substrates such as metal and wood. Alongside this, the SC-F7200 has been exclusively created and developed to help the roll-to-roll textile market create outstanding results.”

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Epson launches new ink tank printer

July 17, 2015

The L655 has been released in the Singaporean market, and offers duplex printing.

Epson's L655

Epson’s L655

Techgoondu reported on the launch of the L655 ink tank printer in Singapore, with the device the “first duplex printer” in the L-series to be released, and using ink bottles instead of cartridges. The L655 can also produce text and photo prints of up to 4,800dpi resolution, and has both mobile and wireless connectivity.

Epson’s iPrint app works on the machine and with smartphones or cloud systems, with the website pointing out that users can “also scan items using the printer” and “have the images saved onto a smartphone or stored online on cloud storage services”. In monochrome, the device can print 6,000 pages from one bottle, while in colour a “composite yield” of 6,500 pages can be achieved, with respective costs per page of S$0.0032 ($0.002/€0.002) and S$0.004 ($0.003/€0.003).

The ink bottles are available for S$18.90 ($13.83/€12.70) in black and S$9.90 ($7.24/€6.65) in colour, while the machine utilises Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology to provide “rich” colours and text. The tech site notes that the L-series aims to “nip the problem [of print costs] in the bud” by “storing the ink in larger tanks outside the printer, rather than inside a small cartridge”, allowing the devices to “churn out thousands of pages without a refill”.

It adds that “managing the growing use of paper can be a challenge for small business owners with limited IT resources”, as “spiralling print costs can quickly erode their profits, especially in Singapore, where many are facing the heat from the rising cost of labour and rent”. The L655 is “pitched at businesses that print a large volume of documents regularly”, because the “ink in the ink tanks will dry up if the printer is left unused for a fortnight”.

The machine will be made available later in July for S$539 ($394/€362).

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