Epson releases updated desktop photo printer

September 2, 2014

Epson's SureLab D700

Epson’s SureLab D700

The OEM’s SureLab D700 machine has been updated with PrecisionCore inkjet printheads.

ProPrint reported on Epson’s rerelease of its SureLab D700 photo printer, which now features its PrecisionCore inkjet printheads, and the OEM stated that the machine is “specifically designed for commercial photo and photo merchandise production”.

The D700 is capable of producing up to 360 six-by-four-inchproduction-quality photographs per hour, with durable colour and monochrome images able to be printed on gloss, lustre and matte media. The machine can also produce prints from a size of 102mm-by-89mmup to 210mm-by-1,000mm.

Craig Heckenberg, Epson’s Business General Manager, commented “[The D700] represents a fantastic opportunity for printing professionals to expand their services or shift from outdated technologies to new digital dry lab technology. The affordable price and plug and play approach to the solution means anyone who is serious about high quality photographic printing can do so quickly and easily at a fraction of the cost of more expensive labs.”

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€7 billion per year lost to “inefficient” printers

August 29, 2014

An Epson study has found that each of five major EU nations lose around €7 billion a year alone to “improper management of printers” or a “poor choice” of technology.mps

La Stampa reported on the study’s findings, which state that “incorrect handling and inadequate technologies” concerning printer management and technology are among the root cause for losses of around €7 billion ($9.2 billion) per year for the five major European nations: Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK.

The five nations lose around €24 billion ($31.6 billion) each year “due to the inadequacy and inefficiency of technologies”, but the previously-mentioned €7 billion is down to printing alone, with Epson noting that this in turn has “negative influences on competitiveness and work”. The research was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research, which contacted 1,250 IT decision makers in the financial and retail industries whose companies have over 50 employees.

The “frustration of employees” is also mentioned “in addition to the losses”, with interruptions, paper jams and maintenance issues said by the survey to be “the main elements of frustration and dissatisfaction for employees when it comes to hardware and IT systems”. The three main issues in printing are paper jams, low printing speeds and “centralised location[s]” of printers, with workers “force[d] to leave their desks to retrieve” printouts.

The survey also asked what the main frustrations are “related to printing technology from a business point of view”, with results showing that “the situation changes” and costs and reliability “leap into the foreground” – 46 percent of companies saw the cost of consumables as the main problem, whilst 43 percent saw reliability as the biggest issue, as well as 33 percent naming print quality.

Each worker was said to lose around 14.7 minutes a day due to outdated or ineffectual technology, which Epson noted “may reduce the reliability of the product”, whilst “any faults or interruptions are expensive to companies.

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Epson and ECi FMAudit partner for MPS

August 1, 2014

The OEM’s WorkForce Pro machines now feature “validated device support” from the software.

Epson WorkForce Pro printer

Epson WorkForce Pro printer

ITBusiness reported on the partnership between Epson and ECi FMAudit, with Epson’s WorkForce Pro range of business printers now enjoying “extensive access, data monitoring and collection to streamline MPS deployments”, with the partnership delivering a “powerful solution for IT network professionals and dealers” in need of “robust business printers with easy-to-use monitoring services”.

Both companies will now offer FMAudit’s Data Capture software to enable IT professionals and MPS providers to “take advantage of a streamline, efficient process for data collection”, with features including report creation, account management and the ability to set up supply and service alerts. Epson’s newest WorkForce machines featuring its PrecisionCore technology will also be able to use the software.

Mike Isgrig, Vice President for Epson America’s North America Consumer Sales and Marketing department, stated: “As the managed print services market continues to grow, Epson has made it a priority to partner with solution providers such as FMAudit to address businesses’ need for solutions that deliver productivity and cost efficiency.

“Resellers now have the opportunity to provide customers with leading-edge printing and imaging hardware from Epson and feature-rich MPS software from FMAudit to optimize and manage their customers’ printers, MFPs and copier fleets.”

Kevin Tetu, President of ECi FMAudit, added: “Epson WorkForce Pro printers deliver high quality output and a low total cost of ownership, which ties seamlessly to FMAudit’s extensive data collection software tools. Our promise to our diverse client base is to deliver the solutions they need to effectively manage and monitor data and, with Epson, we look forward to providing resellers, distributors and IT professionals with cost savings in addition to an enhanced level of service.”

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Epson’s quarterly results see printing revenues increase

July 31, 2014

The OEM’s Q1 (April to June) results saw revenue and profit increase.epson

The results included revenue growth of 10.9 percent on 2013 to ¥246.28 billion ($2.429 billion/€1.813 billion), alongside business profit growth of 143.1 percent to ¥23.51 billion ($231.9 million/€173.1 million) and profit from the quarter of ¥46.59 billion ($459.7 million/€343.1 million), a huge increase of 835.2 percent year-over-year.

In terms of printers, the OEM noted that inkjet printer demand “temporarily contracted in Japan” after a “spike in sales”, whilst North American and European demand “drifted sideways”. In turn, wide-format demand in Europe was “flat” but “trended upward” in China and “grew steadily” in the US and Japan. Revenue for the entire printing unit increased however – as part of the information-related equipment segment of Epson’s business.

Inkjets reporting growth despite “unit shipments of ink cartridge printers declin[ing]” because of “increased shipments of high-capacity ink tank models and higher average selling prices”. Consumables revenue also grew “owing to improvement in the composition of the install base”, with foreign exchange rates also assisting growth. Finally, wide-format printer revenue increased because of “unit growth and foreign exchange effects”.

All of this growth meant that the revenue for the quarter in the information-related equipment segment grew 10.6 percent to ¥201.8 billion ($1.991 billion/€1.486 billion), and profit for the segment in turn increased by 84.1 percent year-over-year to ¥30.2 billion ($298.1 million/€222.5 million).

Epson stated that it had begun working “under an updated three-year plan” at the beginning of 2013 called the SE15 Updated Second-Half Mid-Range Business Plan, which it notes it has “been closely adhering to” in an effort to manage businesses “so that they create steady profit while avoiding the single-minded pursuit of revenue growth”. To achieve this, the OEM is adjusting product mixes, adopting new business models, and “aggressively” developing markets in new segments.

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Epson increases PrecisionCore production capacity

July 22, 2014

precisioncoreOEM will invest ¥10 billion from fiscal 2014 through the 2015 fiscal year in PrecisionCore print head production lines in Japan.

Epson announced that it will increase the production capacity of its PrecisionCore inkjet print heads by investing approximately ¥10 billion ($98.4 million/€73 million) in production lines at its Suwa Minami and Tohoku sites; with the company stating that investment will total roughly ¥40 billion ($394 million/€292 million) by fiscal 2015, including R&D spending and capital investment over the past decade.

The OEM’s PrecisionCore inkjet print heads are described as offering “blazing fast print speeds and stunning image quality”, and are predominantly used in office, commercial and industrial inkjet printers. The PrecisionCore technology was developed by Epson following breakthroughs in piezo material by combining its core inkjet technology with “advanced micreoelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology”; with the print heads first produced in June 2013 at the two plants.

The print heads feature “individually controlled nozzles, each of which is capable of firing up to 50,000 precise ink droplets per second”, and are produced on “fully-automated production lines”.

Epson stated that the increased production capacity “will enable Epson to achieve its business goal of strengthening its position and expanding its footprint in the inkjet printer domain”, helping to “further enhance competitiveness and drive business growth”.

The Recycler reported in April of Epson UK’s plans to become the “number one player” in production print, with more than 10 new inkjet printers featuring PrecisionCore print heads set to be launched by 2016.

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Epson launches large-format colour printer series

July 15, 2014

One of Epson's older SureColor large-format printers.

One of Epson’s older SureColor large-format printers.

Next-generation SureColor T-Series available in the US from September.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the launch of Epson America’s SureColor T-Series large-format printers, including the T3270, T5270, T7270, T5270D, and T7270D; all of which feature Epson PrecisonCore print heads and Epson UltraChrome XD pigment ink “to provide technical, corporate and marketing professionals an unprecedented combination of precision, performance and brilliance”.

The devices, which are 24, 36 or 44 inches, are able to deliver print resolutions of up to 2880 by 1440 dpi and are either single-roll or dual-roll; with both types featuring catch baskets for “enhanced output stacking” and “quick retrieval and reduced sorting time”.

The 36-inch and 44-inch printer models also offer an optional MFP module to enable full colour scan and copy capabilities up to 36-inches wide without requiring a PC, with copy and scan-to-share options also available.

In terms of ink, the devices use Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Black, and Matte Black ink in varied capacities of 110 ml, 350 ml and high-capacity 700 ml cartridge sizes, “which can be used interchangeably to accommodate a range of printing needs”.

For an additional cost of $399.95 (€294), the printers can include an 320GB internal print server which “boosts workgroup productivity by quickly transferring print jobs to free-up workstations; adds print queue management, as well as print job save and reprint functionality”. Also for an additional price of $1,199.95 (€882.08), users can add a True Adobe hardware engine which enables “direct and hot-folder batch printing and support for secure PDF printing”.

Each device features a full-colour LCD control panel with a “simple button layout”, providing “quick access to printer features and controls, as well as an intuitive help system for most frequent tasks”. They also support “virtually any media type in roll or cut-sheet, from plain bond paper to 1.5 mm thick posterboard, for use with a wide variety of print applications”.

Timothy Check, Product Manager, Professional Imaging at Epson America, Inc., said: “The next-generation of SureColor T-Series printers were designed based on direct feedback from customers who demand cost-effective, versatile and scalable printing solutions. The new SureColor T-Series printers not only meet the specific requirements of today’s engineering and scientific professionals, they incorporate the latest in printing technology to create accurate large-format prints well-suited for a variety of projects and applications, ranging from CAD drawings and GIS Maps to corporate graphics and retail posters.”

Available from September, the printers carry a range of prices, with the single-roll T3270 costing $2,995 (€2,202), T5270 costing $3,995 (€2,937) and T7270 costing $4,995 (€3,672). Meanwhile the 36-inch dual-roll T5270D is priced at $5,995 (€4,407) and the 44-inch dual-roll T7270D priced at $6,995 (€5,142).

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Epson Malaysia expects 20 percent revenue growth

July 9, 2014

Epson L355

Epson L355

OEM is “optimistic” of achieving a 20 percent increase in revenue for the financial year of 2014 (FY14).

Malaysian Reserve reported that Epson Malaysia’s performance across “all business segments” has left the company “optimistic” of achieving a 20 percent revenue growth for FY14; with the company seeing a 13 percent revenue growth in FY13 primarily due to a 40 percent growth in inkjet printer sales.

Danny Lee, General Manager of the company, said that following the previous year’s performance “We anticipate to obtain a double-digit growth this year across all our business segments, which include projectors and passbook printers”.

He added: “We will continue to develop more models in order to achieve our target and contribute to our financial growth,” noting that marketing and branding initiatives have increased consumer awareness and helped to boost product sales.

Another growth area for Epson Malaysia has been high-yield printers, with the OEM increasing its market share in the segment from 11 percent in 2012 to 13.6 percent in 2013; and its value share from 14 percent to 18.9 percent respectively. Lee noted that this was due to demand for the company’s L-series refillable tank system printers “that offer users a lower cost of printing and wireless print feature that can print from mobile devices, tablets and computers”.

Shimizu Tomoya, Country Manager of Epson Malaysia, commented: “Our success is built upon the innovative technologies that Epson has brought to the market, and upon our focus on understanding the needs and expectations of our customers and then providing products and services that exceed these expectations.”

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Epson “bets” on inkjet printers

June 24, 2014

Minoru Usui

Minoru Usui

The OEM’s President has stated that inkjets are the company’s “mainstay”.

Wall Street Journal reported on Epson President Minoru Usui’s views on the company’s future, noting that “inkjet printers are Epson’s mainstay”, and that the company is betting on the “revival” of the technology to grow its business worldwide.

Usui stated that whilst “other printer companies are racing to introduce” 3D printers, Epson believes there is still “opportunity” in 2D printing, adding that he believes 3D printers “lack precision and efficiency, and operate with too limited a range of materials for commercial use”. To that end, the OEM will not introduce a 3D printer “until it has developed a model for industrial use”, which may not be for another five years.

Noting his belief that “existing 3-D models are mostly for making plastic toys and things like that [….] to Epson, this is a highly limited market”, Usui and Epson are said by the article to be “counting on” the inkjet market “to bring back growth”, with stock prices rising by 19 percent this month alone showing a growing confidence in the company’s products.

Goldman Sachs Analyst Toshiya Hari stated that Epson’s stock “had been really beaten down [...] people were saying, ‘We won’t be printing in two years’ […] now we’re getting calls from US investors that can’t believe a printer company is having this kind of rise”, with business inkjet said to be part of the reason for the OEM’s growth in popularity.

Tetsuya Wadaki, Analyst at Nomura Securities, added that whilst “big corporations may be reluctant” to use inkjet printers over laser, many OEMs are focusing on SMBs, for whom the machines “could be adequate for […] it is a huge business opportunity for Epson”. The OEM plans to invest $100 million (€73.4 million) in expanding a production line for its business inkjet printer printheads, and still continues to make “most of the principal parts in its printers” and assemble them.

Uusi noted that Epson had previously chased markets “just because they were big”, but that “in the future we will focus on our core technology. I’m not interested in making a smartphone—anyone can do it. The important thing is the core technology, not the device. If we could make refrigerators with inkjet technology, we probably would”.

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Epson RIPS ink “costs less to run” than cartridges

June 16, 2014

The OEM’s ink bags are predicted to provide a “good year” for inkjet.RIPS_colour_inks - Copy

Australian Financial Review reported on the Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) devised by Epson, which offers litre-sized bags of ink that can print around 75,000 pages, and which the site notes may yet make 2014 “a good year for printer ink”.

The bags, whilst “not for home printing”, are designed as part of Epson’s attempts to “push into the upper reaches of the corporate printing market” alongside HP – the business inkjet sector. Along with the devices that will use the bags said to be able to print 100 pages per minute, the site notes that Epson is hoping the technology “could one day replace laser printers”.

The first RIPS printer will offer 24ppm speeds with a “moving inkjet printhead quite like the ones we’re all used to”, but Epson demonstrated to staff and press a machine using the RIPS bags that has 11 printheads “ganged together” to fit the width of a page, meaning the printhead “doesn’t have to move”, and giving the machine the 100ppm speeds mentioned earlier.

Noting the advantages of the RIPS technology include costing “less to run” and producing less waste, the news site adds that one set of bags “prints as many pages as 50 laser printer toner cartridges and six photoconductor unit replacements”, labelling it a “tiny a pile of waste next to a huge pile of waste”.

The “catch”, it notes, is that Epson is only making the bags available as part of an MPS programme, and thus the businesses targeted will pay per page, and at this time the OEM is “coy” about how much the ink bags will actually cost as “customers may never pay for [them] directly”.

However, the site calculated that if you printed 75,000 pages using Epson’s standard capacity Claria black inkjet cartridge, taking into account Epson’s yield estimate of 400 pages per cartridge, one bag would last for as long as 188 cartridges. It also looked at the cost difference, noting that the cartridges, at $19.99 (€14.74) each, would cost a total of $3,758.12 (€2,772); and noted that if each RIPS bag of black ink holds a litre, and a wine bottle holds 750 millimetres, “if this ink were wine” it would cost $2,818.59 (€2,079).

The site’s article ends on a flippant note, stating that “if someone sends you a bag of Epson ink as a gift, ring them up to thank them. If you must write them a note, type it up in a word processor and print it out with the Epson ink. Don’t write it by hand, whatever you do”.

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Epson files patent application for refilling cartridges

May 21, 2014

The OEM has filed a European patent application that would cover refilling methods and a refilling device.

An image from Epson's patent application

An image from Epson’s patent application

Epson’s patent application, EP 2 703 166 A2, holds a potentially high relevance for the remanufacturing and refilling industries, as it details a method of manufacturing a cartridge, a filling kit, and a filling device. The patent features a flow chart and diagram, with the chart covering the ink injection method from start to finish, with one section of the document referring to the ink filling flow in terms of when it can be filled:

“[T]he ink filling flow can be carried out, for example, when the cartridge is refilled with ink after ink contained in the cartridge is consumed and there is no more ink. The ink filling flow can also be carried out, for example, when the cartridge is filled with ink during initial manufacturing of the cartridge.”

If the patent was granted, there could be implications for remanufacturers and refillers in relation to the patent, as it covers the cartridge, the filling kit and device as well as the method of refilling. The OEM has previously filed patents in Europe in March and February this year concerning refilling cartridges.

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