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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Brother launches new affordable inkjet printer

July 22, 2014

The MFC-J4420DW is aimed at the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) market.

Brother's MFC-J4420DW

Brother’s MFC-J4420DW

CePro reported on the launch of the printer by the OEM, which noted that the machine features “cost-competitive features and print rates” alongside compatibility with iOS, Android, Microsoft and Kindle Fire tablets and phones for mobile printing.

The MFC-J4420DW is part of Brother’s Business Smart product line, and offers a “higher level of performance than previous generations” due to improved print speeds of 20ppm in monochrome and 18ppm in colour, alongside a 2.7-inch colour touchscreen and 11-inch by 17-inch paper printing options.

The device also features the OEM’s Super High-Yield inkjet cartridges, which can print approximately 1,200 monochrome and colour pages , which Brother notes “helps to reduce per page print costs, which can help save money in higher volume print environments”. Mobile printing applications that the machine can sync with include AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Cortado Workplace and iPrint & Scan.

Eric Dahl, Director of Marketing for SoHo Products for Brother, commented: “With the expansion and improved pricing of our award-winning Business Smart Series, it’s easier than ever for a customer to find the ideal colour inkjet all-in-one for the home office or small office.

“By committing to low-cost printing, mobile device connectivity, and versatile paper handling, we’re making owning an innovative, hard-working Brother Inkjet all-in-one accessible to SOHO customers who are keeping a careful eye on their budget.”

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Samsung releases A3 machines in Jordan

July 21, 2014

The OEM launched its MultiXpress series in the Middle Eastern nation.

Samsung's MultiXpress K2200

Samsung’s MultiXpress K2200

MENAFN reported on the launch by Samsung’s subsidiary, Samsung Electronics Levant, of the MultiXpress A3 laser range in Jordan. The printers will be sold by official distributor The National Office System Co., and are aimed at enterprises as well as private, public and banking sectors.

The launch was held at the Intercontinental Jordan Hotel at a seminar for customers from the different market sectors, with a workshop also held by The National Office System to demonstrate the printers. The devices include the K2200 and K2200ND, which are MFPs featuring “high quality printing output”, a 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution, high-capacity toner cartridges and RECP technology, which “enhances the printing quality for text and images […] while reduc[ing] the cost to businesses by reducing printing costs per page”.

Mr. Chung, Head of Samsung Electronics Levant’s Enterprise Business Group, stated: “In this evolving lifetime, enterprises’ needs are developing and changing constantly, and to meet owners’ and professional’s expectations, we at Samsung deliver innovative products and solutions based on these needs and expectations.

“With diverse usage, enterprises will experience a more powerful and professional performance with flexible and easy-to-use technologies, accompanied by simplified setup, printing and maintenance methods, to give the users the optimal experience.”

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Totalpost installs another X-ray machine

July 17, 2014

The company installed the machine in Lloyd’s Bank’s headquarters in Cardiff.

The XIS-6040 X-ray machine

The XIS-6040 X-ray machine

The X-ray machine, an Astrophysics XIS 6040, is a security screening device, and will be used at Lloyd’s Bank’s headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, to ensure that “staff continue to be protected by the highest level of security”. The machine can screen all mail “for hidden threats”, with the site receiving over 200 items per day, every one of which is screened using the device.

Totalpost added that it has trained all the “post room, security and receptionist staff” at the site on how to use the machine, and staff will “continue to receive ongoing training as required”, whilst Totalpost will also provide “full maintenance and servicing” of the machine whilst it is used by Lloyd’s. The device is compact and features “tunnel opening dimensions” of 60mm by 50mm; is “easy to use” and provides “crisp, high resolution images”; and is also used in “diverse” sites including prisons, courts and public buildings”.

Kelley Martin, Facilities Manager at Lloyds Cardiff, commented: “The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount, and as a bank we have a responsibility to ensure that everything we do is secure. Therefore choosing the right security screening device for our mailroom was essential.

“Screening the mail and parcels is part of our everyday process, the machine is reliable, extremely easy to use and gives us all peace of mind. The service we have received from the point of order through to install and aftercare has been outstanding and I would not hesitate to recommend Totalpost.”

David Hymers, Managing Director of Totalpost, added: “Many corporate mailrooms are now looking to increase their security and protect staff by screening incoming mail for hidden threats. An X-ray screening device such as the XIS 6040 is ideal for this as it is easy to use and is very compact.”

The company previously installed an X-ray machine for Nationwide Bank in the UK, and installed a mailroom folding machine for Lloyd’s.

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Is printing at home still necessary?

July 11, 2014

printer-dj890Article discusses the cost of home printing and whether it is still necessary for most people.

An article by accountant Andy Prescott on ClarkHoward.com discussed the real costs of home printing, arguing that it may not be necessary for people to have a printer at home with today’s easily available free printing options.

Prescott began by noting that while the cost of buying a home printer may be small, the money spent replacing cartridges is substantially more – even when buying refilled cartridges; while at the same time the cartridges themselves “don’t last very long either”.

He added that even if you don’t print much from home, “the ink goes bad and needs to be replaced every six months or so after you install it” and so the costs still add up. In fact, he said that “if you print hundreds of pages, your price average isn’t too bad”, but if you print “less than 10 pages every six months” you are paying “about $1.50 (€1.10) per page for ink”.

Analysing what the main uses for a home printer are for most people, Prescott noted that some people like to print important documents for their records, which he argued may not be necessary any more due to “numerous free cloud storage solutions that make sure you will have access to your documents no matter what happens”.

Printing flight boarding passes is another common reason for using a home printer, but Prescott asserted that “there are other options that are just as convenient” as “many airlines have gone paperless and allow travellers to use an electronic boarding pass on their smart phones or tablets” and airports often enable boarding passes to be printed using kiosks on-site “without having to wait in long lines”.

Arguably the most common use of a home printer is to complete forms that need to be printed in order for people to sign and return them. Prescott said that while this is “the most common use of my printer”, there are some “simple ways of filling out these forms electronically, such as Adobe Reader XI, which he claims “has everything you need to complete forms without your printer” as it features a “Sign” tab that allows users to “add text and place a signature onto your completed form” which can then be submitted through email.

Prescott goes on to highlight the usefulness of “your friendly local copy shop” for when you occasionally need to print “no more than a few times per year”, as it “costs much less” than if you only occasionally print something using a home printer.

In conclusion, Prescott said that for people who print only a few pages per year, a home printer probably isn’t the most cost-effective solution, but recognised that “everyone uses a printer a little different[ly], and for some, not having a printer would be a major pain”.

Could/do you live without a home printer? Leave a comment or email www.therecycler.com/news

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“Royalty alliance” created to stop patent trolls

July 10, 2014

Patent  DefinedCanon and Google create alliance allowing members to get a royalty-free license to patents sold by participating companies in a bid to prevent infringement suits from patent trolls.

Businessweek reported on the formation by Canon and Google of the License on Transfer (LOT) Network, with the aim of limiting licensing firms who license the patents with the main objective of demanding royalties and filing infringement suits against companies using the related technology.

Companies participating in the alliance will pledge that, should they sell some of their patents, “all members of the group automatically get a royalty-free license to them”; with six companies so far committing to join the network, including Canon, Google, business-software maker Sap AG, internet retailer Newegg Inc., data storage company Dropbox Inc. and software maker Asana Inc., which was started by Facebook Inc. co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. These companies together reportedly own almost 300,000 patents and applications.

Moscovitz commented that the LOT Network “will be a no-brainer for start-ups”, as they will want to limit their exposure to lawsuits. Eric Schulman, Legal Director of Google’s patent team Mountain View, added: “The hope is people will see the benefits of the network effect here and the cycle of selling patents to licensing companies will end.”

Meanwhile Brett Alten, Head of intellectual property at Dropbox, said: “Patents are great for innovation and when used properly they foster innovation. If a LOT member owns the patents, they can do whatever they want, but if they transfer the patent outside the network, then the folks inside the network get a license. It really leads people to reach out and find ways to work with each other.”

The Recycler has reported on numerous cases in the past where OEMs have spoken out against patent trolls, with HP launching a petition last year against 40 shell companies that had been acting on behalf of MPHJ Technology Investments demanding royalty payments from SMBs.

Ricoh and Xerox had also challenged the same shell companies, filing an “inter partes” review request at the patent office in an attempt to prove that the scanning patent MPHJ was trying to enforce was not in fact patentable.

However, a more recent case saw MPHJ file four lawsuits against four different companies, including Coca Cola, claiming that they had infringed patents relating to scan-to-email functions used by employees.

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3D printer recycles plastic bottles

July 4, 2014

Screen shot 2014-07-04 at 10.47.59Ekocycle 3D printer able to transform used plastic bottles into “wearable accessories”.

Deccan Chronicle (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/140704/technology-latest/article/ultimate-recycling-unit) reported that 3DSystems’ recently launched Ekocycle cube 3D printer prints objects using “filaments made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles”, making it a “sustainable and environmentally responsible” way of reusing waste.

The device is currently able to print objects in red, white and black; although its manufacturers are reportedly “confident” that other colours will be available in future. Furthermore each Ekocycle cartridge on average is made from “recycled 20-ounce plastic containers” and is capable of turning a minimum of three used plastic bottles into accessories such as “bracelets, vases, mobile accessories [and] shoes”.

US rapper Will.i.am, who is the Chief Creative Officer of 3DSystems, launched the product, describing it as “the beginning of a cultural revolution” that “would help in revamping lifestyles”.

You can view a short clip of Will.i.am discussing the Ekocycle printer here.

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InfoTrends study to focus on mobile printing

July 3, 2014

mobile printingStudy will look at “print-related attitudes, needs and desires of mobile device users” and the barriers they may face in printing.

InfoTrends has announced that it will conduct a new study, titled ‘Mobile Devices and the Impact on Print’, which will aim to discover the “relative opportunity to print across a broad range of mobile device users” following evidence suggesting that while many users of smartphones and tablets have a desire to print from those devices, many are not currently doing so.

The analyst stated that this may indicate that these groups of users “face different and multiple barriers to printing”, and vendors are “unclear on which groups of users represent the largest untapped potential for print, and what those users need most to enable them to print”.

The study will therefore look into these issues, using a combination of primary and secondary research across the US, Mexico, Brazil, and China; analysing “the differences and commonalities between business and personal printing uses”. It will attempt to answer questions such as how much print is diverted and whether users would print at a later time; and what kind of barriers users are facing, for example access to a printer, knowledge, or technical.

Furthermore, InfoTrends intends to develop a market modelling tool to measure the impact of different events or activities that would increase or decrease print potential, and to establish what enablers will increase print the most for the various types of users; for example ease of payment, access to a printer, and the amount of time at a location when print is desired.

John Shane, Director of InfoTrends’ Communication Supplies Consulting Service, commented: “The purpose of this research is to uncover the relative opportunity to print across a broad range of mobile device users from teenagers to office and mobile business users to retired people. Our goal is to understand what each of these groups and other groups of people need in order to satisfy their desire to print from their mobile devices.”

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Ink Factory launches Bitcoin-related web app

July 1, 2014

A comic from Ink Factory showing how the Bitstamped app might have helped the founding of Facebook

A comic from Ink Factory showing how the Bitstamped app might have helped the founding of Facebook

The Bitstamped app uses Bitcoin’s security to offer time-stamping of documents.

Ink Factory stated that it believes the application, Bitstamped, is the “first non-currency application of Bitcoin technology”, with the cloud-based service allowing users to time-stamp documents through Bitcoin’s Blockchain – an online record – as well as a printable stamp “to prove the date a document first existed”.

The “publicly verifiable” time-stamps are designed for “mainstream use”, and can be paid for with a credit card, so users “don’t need to know what Bitcoin is to use the service”. Uses for the technology include time-stamping photographic evidence, helping to “establish prior rights in business disputes”, and “deterring plagiarism of documents”.

The system works by calculating a “cryptographic fingerprint or signature” for a file, with that signature included in a Bitcoin transaction to “save it” on the aforementioned Blockchain – meaning that, “at any time, as long as the user has the original file, the signature can be calculated and proven to match the one that was Bitstamped”.

Ink Factory said that it had found it was possible to “generate a small Bitcoin transaction” into which the data can be embedded, with the transaction marking the small payment “un-spendable”, so that the transaction – through Bitcoin’s methodology of other users “mining” – would “actually [add] value” to the currency.

Tim Johnson, Managing Director of the company, stated: “The business has been accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for more than six months, but UK Bitcoin customers are few and far.But I think the most truly disruptive aspect of Bitcoin is the Blockchain – the distributed ledger that tracks all Bitcoin transactions.

“We wondered: what if we could store information in a Bitcoin transaction – a transaction that cannot be back-dated, post-edited or disputed? It turns out we weren’t the first to think of time-stamping checksums on the Blockchain, but we’ve taken the idea a step further, building on existing technologies to offer a stamp that customers can add to the footer of a printed document which when scanned will open a page that verifies when it was Bitstamped and proves the file must have existed at that time.”

Ink Factory was one of the first industry companies to offer Bitcoin as a payment method late last year, and Johnson spoke to The Recycler for a feature about Bitcoin in issue 256 this year. Last month, he set out his belief that the future of Bitcoin in retail has been “overstated”, though the company still offers it as a payment method.

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Digital Gateway releases software update

June 27, 2014

The ECi subsidiary has launched version 8.5 of its e-automate software.ecilogo

The software, which was the subject of a partnership between the company and US-based remanufacturer TonerCycle/InkCycle, will now offer “enhanced business management features” with its 8.5 version, with “even more features and tools designed to further help dealers with printing services and device management”, as well as “advanced security features”.

The company noted that the version “has simplified many processes” including some “based on feedback and input” from users, with “field-level security”, billing changes, “meter bypass”, multiple sales orders on one invoice and “contract enhancements in terms of services among the changes.

Laryssa Alexander, President of ECi’s Service Technology Division, stated: “We are excited and proud to present this latest version of e-automate. It provides many features that make day-to-day tasks more efficient. But it also has added features that directly benefit those who are expanding their offerings through managed services.

“It is our goal to keep e-automate on the cutting edge of this very important component of the service industry as we continue our focus on helping customers to grow their businesses and prosper. We’ll feature sessions on version 8.5 at our upcoming Connect Conference in November so that users can learn to get the most out of the latest features.”

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