Page 23 - Print 21 Magazine Sep-Oct 2018
P. 23

Japan technology
Precision is at Epson core
Persistence and dedication in the pursuit of an idea has taken Epson to the forefront of Japanese technology companies. The invention of piezo-electric inkjet heads changed the possibilities for the printing industry. The further refinement that led to PrecisionCore has redefined the capabilities of inkjet.
If there is one manufacturing company that epitomises the genius that has raised Japan to the forefront of technology it
is Epson. Few corporations have delved
as deep into invention and technology adaptation and few have had such a profound impact on the digitalisation of the printing industry. The original inventor of the quartz watch back in the mid-20th century, it has pursued development of micromechantronic technologies ever since. The breakthrough came with the creation of the game-changing piezo- electric inkjet head. Long-term Epson president, the visionary Minoru Usui, was leading the development team and oversaw the launch in 1994 of the world’s first high- resolution colour inkjet printer, the Epson StylusColor, using MicroPiezo heads.
Epson doubled down on its development mission and in 2007 with Usui-san in his current role, it launched the PrecisionCore MicroTFP print chip, the result of one of the company’s largest ever R&D project. This thin film piezo inkjet chip raised the bar for all others.
It has three times the nozzle density of conventional piezo printheads. It delivers unprecedented control over the size and placement of ink drops, is completely scalable and ultra fast.
The result not only of Usui’s vision of inkjet as the enabling technology for a whole range of new printed products, it is also a testimony to a company that has the capability to manufacture everything from inkjet heads and integrated circuits to the press frame and the formulation of the ink. PrecisionCore’s ability to
be scaled across different size printing formats makes it one of the most valuable technologies in the sector. While Epson
is happy to OEM its other inkjet heads
it maintains PrecisionCore MicroTFP exclusively for its own products.
The result is that when it comes to quality imaging such as proofing and photographic printing, Epson is the unrivalled leader. At IGAS it showed a range of inkjet powered technologies, ranging from two versions of its SurePress label press: the SurePress L-4533AW using aqueous resin ink for six colours plus white and powered
by MicroPiezo heads, as well as the SurePress L-6034VW, a UV machine using a one-pass PrecisionCore line head. Both amply demonstrate the versatility of Epson’s technology.
A SureColor SC –S80650 wide format, as well as its new office printer, the WorkForce Enterprise, also drew plenty of attention. This latter technology is set to change the paradigm of office printing as Epson brings the benefits of inkjet, including lower costs and more brilliant reproduction, into the millions of pages of office printing. At a production speed of 75ppm in colour or mono it has all the finishing features expected of an Epson.
I wasn’t able to get a walk-through
the technology on the stand, due to a misunderstanding on my part with the Japanese company management. On
my own reconnoitre it’s easy to see that Epson is maintaining its ranking status among technology companies, not only in Japan but globally.
Left: High technology on display at Epson
in the US, but quickly developed by Japanese companies, notably Canon. When it comes to inkjet, Epson can claim to be one of the earliest developers along with HP in the US and again Canon. Since then the Japanese genius for refining and developing technology has led it to lead the field with a steady stream of ever more accurate, colourful and productive digital printing engines.
A visitor to IGAS is assured of being able to sample the latest releases and developments in printing, even if the language barrier for English-speakers is opaque. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Venture into the Next.’
I spent five days at IGAS meeting the leading lights of the industry, both at the show and outside in HQs in Tokyo and beyond. I came away with an enhanced conviction that, while the ‘Next’ destination may be fairly obscure, there’s no doubt that when it arrives it will be Japanese companies that will seize and develop it to maximum potential. 21

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