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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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Static Control launches inkjet ink product line

November 14, 2014

Breaking-News1The largest manufacturer of aftermarket imaging systems and components has introduced an “extensive range” of inks for customers.

The company noted that the “wide range of inks” form part of its “series of complete inkjet solutions”, and are for use across “multiple cartridges” for European customers, complementing the company’s “expanding inkjet chip range”.

Static Control stated that it has been “long-established in the inkjet chip market”, where its products have “proven to be firmware-resistant and respectful of intellectual property”, in particular its ink gauge technology that “provides full functionality” while remaining legal.

Ken Lalley, Static Control’s Sales Director, commented: “Static Control is delighted to add these products to our catalogue and offer increased flexibility to our customers. We have listened to their wishes, and the common consensus is that a broader product offering is needed if we are to continue facing the ongoing challenges of our industry.

“The more extensive our range of quality products becomes, we are not only able to offer reliability and value for money, but also the convenience of purchasing everything from one source – a flexible, IP-safe supplier. We also hope that toner cartridge remanufacturers will see this as an opportunity to branch out into ink jet remanufacturing, while partnering with a supplier they already know and trust.”

The company revealed that over 450 inkjet products have been released, and that many more are “in development”.

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New wide-format machines print onto glass

November 10, 2014

Wide-format OEM Durst has produced a machine that prints inkjet directly onto glass.

Event attendees view the printer's glass prints

Event attendees view the printer’s glass prints

ProPrint reported on the release of the Rho Vetrocer wide-format glass printer from Durst, which was launched at the Glasstec 2014 event in October, and which was launched at the Glasstec 2014 event in October, and which applies ceramic ink “directly to the glass without the need for [a]pricey metal screen for each colour”. The machine is available in three models – the Basic, Presto and HS.

The news outlet stated that this machine is among a number that are “encroaching on one of the last remaining screen printing territories” by “binding ink directly to the glass at what proponents say is a lower cost”. Durst meanwhile noted that the machine “will make printed decorative glass more affordable for printers looking for extra revenue streams”.

The aforementioned screen printing process, which is usually used for glass printing, requires each colour to be printed onto glass followed by “drying or baking before the next is applied”, and, “runs the risk of the second or third colours printing out of register due to a change in the material after tempering”.

In contrast, the Vetrocer “binds the ink to the glass permanently” through a baking process “inside an external oven” at temperatures between 680 and 700°C – this means the ink “becomes part of the glass”, and Durst states that it is capable of small to large volume jobs “without the need to replace templates”, though a washing and drying unit is required to “clean out dust, grease, fingerprints, zinc and packaging”.

Widths of 2,500millimetres are supported, with a 3,300mm version being worked on, and print resolution of 80dpi is available. Mirrored printheads are used “to prevent colour shifts and banding”, and the three models – Basic, Presto and HS – feature speeds of 25square-metresan hour, 55sqm an hour and 105sqm an hour, while transport belts, a baking oven and a loading and swivelling table are also available from Durst “to create a full line”.

The news site commented that “the technology will open creative opportunities for architects and designers as well as commercial printers – who have the printing know-how, Photoshop and colour management skills to capitalise on a market that is growing in Europe, and islikely to hit Australia in the near future”.

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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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Inkjet conference deemed “tremendous success”

October 15, 2014

ESMA_IJC14_ConferenceFirst ever ‘The Inkjet Conference’ event received excellent ratings from attendees and speakers.

The European Specialist Printing Manufacturer’s Association (ESMA) announced that the first ever ‘The Inkjet Conference’ event was a “tremendous success” in bringing together technical and academic experts in inkjet and digital printing, with the two-day conference in Neuss, Dusseldorf attracting more than 300 attendees earlier this month.

The conference, hosted by ESMA and sponsored by drupa, was described by Sidel SpA’s Stefano Corradini as “an excellent collection point for today’s experts in the world of digital printing”, with 41 industry experts delivering over 30 presentations on topics such as UV-LED systems, piezo inkjet for precision dispensing of functional materials, system integration from an ink point of view, improving the inkjet industry by implementing intelligent sensors, and industrial inkjet for packaging.

Industry and academic leaders in their fields spoke about the latest advances and future developments driving digital print, with the conference focusing on inkjet engineering, a review on fluid and ink components such as nano particles, conductive, aqueous and UV inks, and an academic track open to all universities and non-commercial research institutes to present their work.

Rick Hulme of ink manufacturer Sun Chemical, noted that the event was a “new and exciting conference which has brought the industry together to discuss inkjet, its capabilities and opportunities, both now and in the future”, while fellow attendee Luc Van Damme said it was “a great starting point to follow the developmental course of DOD and nanoparticles throughout the next exciting upcoming years”. The range of attendees was also welcomed by Xaar’s Jason Remnant, who said that it “help[ed] broaden customer opportunities and networking options”.

Steve Knight, Founder of Digital Direct, who runs ‘The Inkjet Conference’, said: “As well as the updates on the significant technological steps being made by suppliers and experts in this arena, the event also presented the wealth of opportunities for collaboration, inter-industry developments and cross-market adoption.”

Meanwhile, Peter Buttiens, CEO of ESMA, commented: “The energy and buzz surrounding the first edition of ‘The Inkjet Conference’is indicative of the excitement we are seeing across the industry regarding the capabilities the new technology is offering. It is so interesting to be a part of the conversation that is exploring what the next steps could and should be.”

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Asia-Pacific ink manufacturers speak on environment

October 3, 2014

images-5Companies discuss how they are looking to be more environmentally friendly.

Ink World Magazine reported how, in recent years, the Asia-Pacific region has grown to “become the largest geographic region for the printing ink industry”, and how there has also been an “increasing emphasis” on being environmentally-friendly and meeting international guidelines in the region. The news outlet notes that countries throughout the Asia-Pacific are “looking to remove ingredients that impact food packaging, as well as ingredients such as toluene that are concerns in terms of health”.

Toshihiko Fukunaga, General Manager of International Operations Division at Sakata INX, said: “We intend to acquire ISO 14001 and build plants that comply with environmental regulations and are on the same level as the developed country’s standards. We plan to emphasise deploying environmentally friendly ink. Recently, the demand for inkjet and UV inks has become stronger. We will focus on developing new products and expand sales for these inks.”

Ashwani Bhardwaj, Management for Asia and North America at hubergroup, added:“Government regulations are getting more stringent and ink companies are gradually upgrading their own manufacturing processes and standards. Awareness among the printers and end-users is growing and they are now demanding the ink manufacturers to follow the latest global product safety norms.

“The hubergroup is well placed to meet all these challenges. We have developed new UV products within our NewV product family, which have been launched worldwide. The NewV range of products meets the highest standards in terms of product safety. NewV products are highly appreciated by the customers.”

In turn, Yu Adachi, from Toyo Ink’s Corporate Communication Department, noted that an interest in toluene- and MEK-free inks has grown in the region: “Sales of our Multistar SW series line of eco-friendly toluene-free and MEK-free lamination gravure inks for packaging increased in China and Southeast Asia. Also, the Toyo Ink Group launched the high-grade LIOALPHA SW series of toluene-free and MEK-free lamination gravure inks in last year May. Multistar SW and LIOALPHA SW series are compliant with European regulations (Swiss Ordinance).”

Atsushi Egashira, General Manager for DIC Corp’s Corporate Communications Department, commented that DIC’s regional technical centre in Thailand is developing new, environmentally-friendly products: “Our regional technical centre in Thailand will facilitate our business by accelerating adjustments of products developed in other regions to needs in the region as well as enhancing our technical service to customers. This technical centre is supposed to work on challenging technical themes, including refining gravure inks for high-speed printing machines and introducing environment friendly products.”

Finally, Hideyuki Hinataya, President of Toka Ink International, said that LED UV curing is “one approach to reducing energy consumption”, and that LED UV and Hybrid presses “decrease the amount of energy used in the printing process […] raising awareness as regards to the environment, we aggressively introduced low energy curable inks for LED UV and Hybrid presses. At this moment, the number of installation of those presses in the Asia-Pacific region is lower than in the United States, Europe and Japan. However, we will keep paying attention to the market as a potential market.”

China has placed “large emphasis” on environmentally friendly and clean products, as it “tries to clean up its environment”, and Bauhinia Variegata Ink and Chemicals Ltd., a subsidiary of Yip’s Chemical and the “largest domestic ink supplier in China, emphasises environmentally friendly ink systems”, with a company spokesperson stating that R&D for every new product is “based on protecting the environment”, such as developing benzene- and ketone-free gravure ink products and soybean oil-based litho inks.

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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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HP to develop high-volume inkjet solutions

October 2, 2014

HPColorInkjetWebPressThe OEM has partnered with KBA to provide inkjet solutions for the corrugated packaging market.

The partnership between HP and KBA (Koenig & Bauer Group) was announced at Graph Expo 2014, and will see the two companies work together on the “high-volume inkjet solutions” in corrugated packaging “and beyond”, with the “digital innovations” set to “open new application and market opportunities”.

The solutions consist of “roll-to-roll” inkjet solutions to be used in the corrugated packaging market, with the products to be marketed under HP’s branding, and designed to help packaging converters “increase productivity, scalability and versatility” in a market worth around $2.5 billion (€1.9 billion) that is “steadily increasing worldwide due to brand globalisation, population growth and a resurging economy”.

The high-speed roll-to-roll thermal inkjet products will aim to “provide value chain cost savings while meeting brands’ rigorous quality and volume requirements”, as other factors including “stock keeping unit (SKU) proliferation” and “micro-segmentation and shorter product lifecycles” are said to be “driving demand for the shorter run lengths enabled by digital print”.

HP stated that the agreement “demonstrates HP’s continued pursuit of corrugated packaging opportunities and intention to broaden its portfolio of inkjet products and solutions”, whilst KBA will “bring its strengths in paper handling, manufacturing scale and wide knowledge of the packaging market” to the partnership.

Aurelio Maruggi, Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Inkjet High-Speed Production Solutions, stated: “Addressing the enormous digital opportunity in the corrugated market requires best-in-class technology innovation, portfolio scale and market leadership. HP brings this unique combination as well as proven customer success and upgradability to this challenge, and together with KBA, HP can bring even greater value to high-end converters.”

Christoph Müller, Executive Vice President of KBA’s Web Press Business Unit, added: “KBA has a rich heritage of developing innovative solutions that meet or exceed customers’ quality expectations. In working with HP, we will combine our complementary technological strengths to meet the needs of packaging converters.”

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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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