Saturday, 24 May 2014 13:04

Epson’s long road back – part II

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EPSON, well known for printers and projectors is one of those Japanese companies that seems to purposely fly under the radar. It says it is time to spread the Epson message.

iTWire/CommsWire editor Graeme Philipson interviewed Epson’s president Minoru Usui in November 2013. I commend this as a good background read if you want to know more about Epson.

This week it launched its Precision Core WorkForce printer range to dealers, retailers, and media at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Bruce Bealby, Business Manager Visual Imaging for Epson Australia said, “Epson’s new products will change our image. Precision Core is faster, more durable, lower cost, and in all better than a laser”.

I don’t intend to go into the tech – iTwire has an article here - but I do want to make the comment that anything a printer company can do to reduce page cost by up to 50% and increase quality is worthy of mention.

The print samples I saw, and the speeds verified by stopwatches, were impressive especially so as they came from inkjet printers ranging in price from A$249 to $449.

Perhaps Epson had no choice but to go with Precision core. HP’s page-wide OfficeJet Pro X printers (a page width print head that does not move) have been dominating the small to medium enterprise market since release a year ago.

Precision Core uses the more familiar moving print head but unlike the lasers it would like to displace has far fewer moving parts to replace, uses up to 70% less electricity and has faster first out pages – important for one off and short document print runs. In fact, Epson is so bullish about the inkjet technology they no longer bring in laser printers to Australia.

I spoke at length to Darren Klass of Sydney based printer repair company, Aus Printer Solutions.

To paraphrase his words the Precision Core printers are at a price point where you would not bother with workgroup lasers anymore. “With toner costs often over a $100 per colour – say $400-500 it simply does not make sense anymore to buy smaller lasers when these inkjets offer better quality, lower page cost, faster throughput and if they break, a far lower replacement cost,” he said.

He also mentioned that these printers were far more tolerant of different paper stocks from heavy-duty labels to photographic paper. “Try doing that on a laser,” he said.

Epson will be producing a special version of its WorkForce printers exclusively for the dealer channel to allow them to offer managed print services. “Although on a $400 printer most will buy outright but it allows us to develop a relationship with the client and help them meet their needs for after sales support,” Klass said.

It does mark the beginning of a revitalised Epson, at least in Australia.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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