Epson Previews new 100 ppm Line-Head Inkjet MFP

On March 16, 2017, I had an opportunity to attend an Epson Technology event in Chicago with other industry analysts and potential channel and technology partners.  I did have some suspicions as to what Epson was going to demonstrate based on my March 14, 2017 article, “A Look at Epson’s Moves in the Office Printer Market”.  Some of you may recall that back in June of 2014, The Australian Financial Times reported that Seiko Epson, Tokyo previewed a 100-ppm inkjet printer that featured 11 stationary print heads stacked together across the full width of a page, achieving speeds of 100 ppm.  Fast forward to a Wirth Consulting article dated April 28, 2016, which quoted content from Seiko Epson’s financial statements released for the year ending March 31, 2016 based on an interview with Business Today in November 2015, that Epson would be introducing new line-head printers later in the year.  Well, obviously nothing was announced at that time but on March 20, 2017, Epson did in fact announce the long anticipated WorkForce® Enterprise WF-C20590, a 100 ppm A3 line-head inkjet MFP.

I must say that when I actually saw the demonstration of this new MFP, my expectations were exceeded despite the fact, that I suspected what they were going to demonstrate.   Epson obviously had thought very hard and long about the feature set for this device based on input from resellers etc., and how they would position it.   The WorkForce® Enterprise WF-C20590 that was demonstrated had very large ink cartridges with a yield of 50K pages per cartridge (two black cartridges are included), had very fast and quiet duplex printing/copying (dual scanning technology), had lots of paper handling on both input and output, contained a large 9” swiveling display, and a large reservoir/tray for collecting purged ink.  Similar to HP’s approach with office Pagewide devices, Epson is positioning this product and technology specifically against comparable laser devices emphasizing the simplicity of inkjet devices (vs. lasers) and the resulting lower maintenance costs, much lower power consumption and ability to run from a standard 110 volt outlet, significant advantages in terms of price/performance, and lower TCO (total cost of ownership), etc.

Still, even with HP and now Epson pushing their respective high speed business inkjet technologies, a great deal of education still needs to be done since there continues to be a strong laser bias in office printer market.  Will HP and Epson be successful?  You bet they will, the only question is how long will it take for these technologies to really become significant in terms of the numbers.   Both HP and Epson have done a good job in positioning their respective products/technology against comparable performance laser devices.  The next step, which will be a bit harder, is to position themselves against each other’s technology, piezo vs. thermal inkjet which is a long ongoing discussion in terms of advantages/disadvantages of each technology.    It is this detail that Photizo dives in to with their new Ink in the Office Advisory Service headed up by Tim Strunk who has >10 years of experience working with Pagewide class technology and >30 years for experience in the printer industry.  For more information on this new Photizo offering, please contact Tim Strunk at tstrunk@photizogroup.com.

As we all know, it takes much more than a great product and/or technology to be successful; products don’t just sell themselves.  Epson recently hired two industry veterans to drive their go-to-market plans.  Epson hired Elliot Williams as product manager who had previous experience with HP (11 years, some years involved with Pagewide products) and with Memjet (10 years).  Epson also hired Mark Mathews as VP North America Commercial Marketing (ex. CEO of Toshibas America Business Solutions) who lead marketing efforts for all Epson’s commercial products, will drive the go-to-market plans including channel strategy for Epson’s business inkjet products including the WorkForce® Enterprise WF-C20590.    Mark’s experience particularly in the BTA channel should prove to be very valuable to Epson.

Will Epson be successful?   They are off to a good start and have hired some key new people to help them in areas that are vital to their success.   It will come down to execution of the plans and launching the WorkForce® Enterprise WF-C20590 on time this summer.

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