Epson to Enter Industrial 3D-Printer Market; 200-PPM Inkjet Copier/MFP May Be on the Way

Seiko Epson President Minoru Usui.

Seiko Epson President Minoru Usui recently announced at an event marking Epson Singapore’s 35th anniversary that Epson will be entering the industrial 3D-printer market. The new 3D printer for industrial 3D printing will be available in the next few years, and is a key part of Epson’s plan to grow its increase global revenue “by more than 50 percent” by 2025, reports 3ders.org.

“We will position ourselves to provide innovative products that can bridge the gap between the cyberworld and the physical world,” said Usui. “Our vision by 2025 is to create a new age of connected people, things and information with efficient, compact and precision technologies for sustainable growth. We will position ourselves to provide innovative products that can bridge the gap between the cyberworld and the physical world.”

Back in 2015 – see our story here – Usui said that Epson won’t be making consumer 3D printers, which said have limited appeal. Instead, Usui said that, just as Espon has focused on inkjet, rather than laser, printing, it will focus on developing 3D printers for volume manufacturing.

However, Usui noted at the time that he sees three major limitations to manufacturing 3D printers currently on the market today: limited range of materials that can be used with the 3D printers, slow print speed, and limited accuracy in building 3D objects.

“So we are looking to make dramatic increases and improvements in all these three areas to produce a printer that can be used in manufacturing situations,” Usui told Business Today in 2015.

The Epson president said that while Epson doesn’t have a 3D printer on the market now, it’s conducting “basic developments on the R&D side and hope to have something in four to five years.”

Epson is said to be working on a 3D printer with print speeds of up to 200 ppm, and that’s compatible with different 3D-printing materials. “One of our goals for digital printing technology is the ability to print any materials. We are working on 3D printing that can work on a variety of printing material with high accuracy and productivity,.

Usui said that Epson will draw on its expertise with laser- and inkjet-printing systems to develop the 3D printer.

Epson will also be focusing on robotics and “smart wearables” such as smart glasses with an augmented reality display for commercial and industrial use in Southeast Asia. It also recently acquired Orient Watch as part of its watch business, and is said to be focusing on sensor-based watches for healthcare, sports, and fashion. And of course, it will continue to focus on high-yield ink-cartridge and ink-tank inkjet printers, All-in-Ones, and copier/MFPs.

To date, three traditional “2D” printer/copier companies have developed OEM-branded 3D printers: HP Inc., Canon, and Ricoh.

200-PPM Office Inkjet MFP/Printer?

Back in March 2017, Epson America introduced the A3 business inkjet copier/MFP – what it called the  “first corporate high-speed inkjet line-head printer” – the WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590, an A3 copier/MFP that’s designed for small and mid-size businesses, as well as corporate workgroups. Based on Epson’s PrecisionCore Line Head color-inkjet printing technology, the WF-C20590 is rated at up to 100 ppm.

According to 3ders.org, however, Epson is slated to introduce a new release that will feature double the print speed of the WF-C20590.

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