New Epson Factory to Triple Inkjet-Print-Head Production

The new factory (Building 9)

Seiko Epson of Tokyo, Japan, reported today that it’s completed construction work on a new factory at its Hirooka Office in Shiojiri, Japan.

The new factory, which Epson began constructing in the autumn of 2016, will be used to produce Epson PrecisionCore print chips, a core component of Epson’s PrecisionCore inkjet print heads. The new factory, which will begin operations in Epson’s 2018 fiscal year (that will end on March 31, 2019), will triple Epson’s current PrecisionCore print-chip production capacity.

The firm also states that by leveraging its production capacity, it also plans to roll-out sales of its PrecisionCore print heads for large-format printers worldwide, and work with its partners to accelerate the shift to digital in commercial and industrial printing.

Epson’s Hirooka Office serves as a planning and design center, R&D center, and production center for Epson’s inkjet printers. Epson also reports that it’s looking to further reinforce its R&D and production capabilities, as it’s planning a new building – the Innovation Center Building B – at the Hirooka Office that will house a factory for prototyping and volume-producing large commercial and industrial printing systems, and also serve as a test laboratory for Epson digital textile printing.

Under its Epson 25 Corporate Vision, Epson is targeting the office, commercial, and industrial printing markets. In its fiscal year 2017, Epson notes that it introduced high-speed line-head inkjet office MFPs  as a major part of its strategy to drive future growth.

Epson also stated that it’ll seek to expand sales of its high-capacity ink-tank inkjet printers, which it says have been driving near-term growth, in both advanced and emerging economies. In its fiscal-year 2018, Epson plans to sell 9.5 million units, a 1.7-million unit increase over its fiscal-year 2017 sales.

In the commercial and industrial printing sectors, Epson says an accelerating shift from analog- to digital-printing solutions is expected to generate significant market growth for printers used for printing signage, textiles, and product labels. It says it will continue to strengthen its lineup of commercial and industrial large-format printers, and will boost both its R&D and manufacturing capability.

The firm says its new factory in Hirooka will enable it to expand its presence in these markets in addition to bolstering its ability to handle an expected mid-range increase in demand for inkjet print heads.

The new factory will be the second production site for Epson PrecisionCore print chips, which are currently manufactured at the Suwa Minami Plant in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The structure, facilities, and equipment at the new factory are said to feature excellent disaster resistance, thus reinforcing Epson’s business-continuity capabilities.

The new factory is also designed to achieve 20-percent higher space productivity than existing factories. It’s equipped with a research and development center, and will play a key role in improving Epson print-head quality and productivity primarily through the development of production technology.

Profile of the new factory

Name Hirooka Office Building 9
Address 80 Harashinden, Shiojiri-shi, Nagano-ken 399-0785
Operations PrecisionCore printhead production (front-end process) and R&D
Completion June 30, 2018
Building area 10,653 m²
Total floor area 46,915 m²
Building construction Steel-frame, five stories above ground and one below
Investment Approx. 25.5 billion yen

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