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Epson Unveils PrecisionCore Technology to Drive Industrial and Office Inkjet Printing Innovation (Commentary by Richard Romano)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

New MicroTFP Printheads Build on Epson’s Renowned Quality

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Epson global president, Minoru Usui, today announced PrecisonCoreTM, a next-generation inkjet printing technology poised to transform the printing business, providing the company with an unparalleled level of manufacturing efficiency to expand into high-potential new global markets. PrecisionCore builds on Epson’s longstanding reputation for output quality, at the speeds required for industrial and commercial printing. The technology will also be extended into the company’s office printing range.

At a press conference at Labelexpo, a premier label industry exhibition, Usui explained how Epson combined years of technical expertise with recent breakthroughs in piezo material and high-precision MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) manufacturing to create an innovative new print chip. The new PrecisionCore chip delivers commercial-grade performance in a compact, modular form, and enables Epson to scale the technology from single-pass industrial presses to workgroup and desktop printers.

PrecisionCore is the only volume-produced printing technology that spans such a wide range of inks and marking materials. PrecisionCore technology extends Epson’s high-performance thin-film piezo print technology, currently used in its market-leading commercial large-format printers, to deliver customers flexible industrial and business printing solutions with superior color, print quality, and output durability on the widest range of media for everything from business documents, photography and signage, to commercial labels, packaging, and textiles.

“PrecisionCore represents a leap forward in printing performance,” said Usui. “We continue to deliver outstanding quality thanks to superior dot control, and have introduced a new system to ensure reliability. At the same time, scalability allows us to fully leverage our historical strengths of ink flexibility and printhead durability.”

Epson’s unique integrated production cycle – from the piezo printhead to the finished printing device – provides a highly efficient manufacturing process to address a full range of digital printing opportunities with the scale, quality and cost effectiveness only possible through MEMS chip production.

“For the first time, one printing technology offers the performance and scalability to fundamentally change how business approaches printing,” said Keith Kratzberg, senior vice president, Epson America. “While today’s industrial printing announcements from Epson showcase the power of PrecisionCore in the prime label and packaging industry, the technology will soon extend to a full range of PrecisionCore-based products designed for today’s office printing environments.”

In conjunction with the PrecisionCore announcement today, Epson is demonstrating several new products incorporating the technology at Labelexpo in Hall 9, Stand 9H50, from Sept. 24 – 27. The products tap into PrecisionCore’s ability to power innovations and include a number of firsts: the SurePress® L-6034V and L-6034VW are Epson’s first digital label presses that use UV-cure ink and that integrate a linehead printhead array; and the SureColor® F2000 is Epson’s first direct-to-garment printer.

Visit epson.com/PrecisionCore for more details about PrecisionCore. 


Commentary by Richard Romano

Today, as you just read, Epson announced a major new printhead technology, which they call PrecisionCore, which had been previewed to industry analysts and journalists at Print 13, and is making its official debut at Labelexpo. 

Many of the nuances of PrecisonCore, for the average end user, involve a lot of materials science and can be perhaps a bit “Inside Baseball,” but these details can provide a good context for what we can perhaps expect from Epson in the next five or six years. 

Epson has invested a lot of money in what is essentially its “next-generation” printhead technology. (They are calling it a “print chip” and while the terms “print chip” and “printhead” may not be entirely synonymous, they can be thought of in roughly the same way.) PrecisionCore is a modular design that can be stretched and stitched together to create a wide variety of products at a wide variety of sizes and form factors, from the initial SurePress L-6034V and L-6034VW label printers being shown at Labelexpo this week, to potential forthcoming products in the consumer and office small-format markets, as well as the professional/commercial wide-format market. 

For the end user, the implications include the usual next-gen advantage of speed; PrecisionCore can be used as a serial printhead, but can also be used as a single-pass printhead without fear of losing nozzles. There are also quality improvements (better resolution, the new piezo printheads are better able to control the trajectory and placement of each ink droplet, and a smaller droplet size means less bleed-through and other traditional perils of inkjet printing). The new print chip will also give Epson the flexibility to use a wide variety of inks—not just aqueous inks, but UV, which would mark Epson’s first foray into UV inks. There are also inks suitable for high-quality textile printing. 

Epson’s vertical integration—they can develop the inks, the printheads, and the robotics to control the printheads—puts the company in a unique position to go, and take their significant user base, into a wide variety of new applications. It will also give them the ability to introduce new products to market faster than has traditionally been the case. 

Ultimately, the PrecisionCore technology offers “more flexibility in order for them to take their customers forward into new applications with the print quality they expect from Epson—and with a frequency we haven’t seen from Epson,” says industry analyst Marco Boer of IT Strategies and a frequent contributor to WhatTheyThink.

It will be interesting to see what comes next. 


 

Discussion

By Kevin Karstedt on Sep 27, 2013

Thanks Richard,

Your commentary helped me to better understand the implications of the announcement.

 

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