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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Epson reports increases in yearly results

April 30, 2014

Inkjet printer shipments declined but sales and profits

The OEM announced that inkjet printer demand “contracted in North America and Japan” but “drifted sideways in Europe”, whilst large-format printer sales “were brisk for popularly-priced models” and “sluggish for high-end machines”, though these sales “gained momentum in the second half as corporate spending picked up”.

Net sales for the 2013 financial year globally reached ¥1.003 trillion ($9.7 billion/€6.9 billion); an increase of 17.9 percent on the previous year, whilst operating income was ¥84.9 billion ($825.5 million), up a huge 299.8 percent from the prior year. Net income meanwhile reached ¥83.6 billion ($813.2 million/€586.7 million), compared to net losses of ¥10 billion ($90.8 million/€65.5 million) in 2012.

The OEM added that net sales in its printing systems business had increased, with “all categories” benefiting from “foreign exchange effects”, with inkjet printer net sales “lifted higher by increased shipments of high-capacity ink tank models” as well as “higher average selling prices”, even despite the aforementioned decline in inkjet printer shipments.

Net sales of consumables also rose in line with the unit shipments, whilst wide-format printer net sales increased “due to a rise in average selling prices accompanying increased sales of high-end units and consumables”.

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Epson releases three new wide-format machines

April 24, 2014

The printers in the SureColor range will be shown at the Sign & Digital UK 2014 show next week.epsonsurecolorwf

The OEM announced the launch of the SureColor SC-T7200, SC-T5200 and SC-T3200 machines, which it calls “versatile, high-speed” four-colour machines that include nine different iterations, and which are aimed at busy production environments in a range of markets.

The devices range in size from 24 inches (T3200), 36 inches (T5200) and 44 inches (T7200), and are set to be demonstrated for the first time at the Sign & Digital UK 2014 event at the NEC in Birmingham, UK from 29 April to 1 May. The 7200 and 5200 models feature double paper rolls and a 36-inch scanner, with scan-to-email functions available alongside scan-to-file and scan-to-share with other SureColor machines.

Each printer contains an optional 320GB hard drive and 1.6Ghz CPU, as well as UltraChrome XD water-based pigment inks utilised in a PrecisionCore TFP printhead for “precise, repeatable and long life performance”. Three different inkjet cartridge sizes are available, including 110ml, 350ml and 700ml, whilst the range also boasts ENERGY STAR certification.

Duncan Ferguson, Director of C&I Pro-Graphics for Epson Europe, stated: “The new generation of easy-to-use SureColor SC-T printers have been designed to deliver the ultimate in flexibility and production performance into busy design and print environments.

“The ability to print onto paper and board up to 1.5mm thick makes them ideal for a wide variety of graphics applications.”

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Epson launches CISS printers in Taiwan

April 17, 2014

Epson L1800OEM introduces two continuous ink supply system (CISS) A3 and A4 printers for the Taiwan market.

Digitimes reported that Epson launched two CISS printers – the six-colour L1800 and four-colour L1300 – on 16 April for immediate launch in the Taiwan market; along with the L555 inkjet MFP and L120 inkjet printer.

The article states that despite demand for inkjet printers and MFPs expecting to fall “from 440,000 units in 2013 to 420,000 units in 2014”, sales of CISS printers increased between 2011 and 2013 from 35,000 units to almost 71,000 units, and are set to increase further in 2014 to 89,000 units.

During 2013, Epson reportedly occupied 56 percent of inkjet and MFP sales value in the Taiwan market, with the company now aiming to increase its market share to 60 percent this year.

The L1800and L1300 CISS printers are priced at NT$16,990 (US$564/€407) and NT$13,990 (US$464/€335) respectively, while the L55 inkjet MFP is priced at NT$7,490 (US$248/€179) and the L120 inkjet printer is priced at NT$3,490 (US$116/€84).

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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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