While most other printer manufacturers are rushing to join the 3D revolution (HP being a notable example), Epson president Minoru Usui still believes there’s opportunity in the land of traditional printing and that he believes there will be a revival in inkjet printing technology.
Usui has stated that he believes 3D printers lack precision and are not efficient and operate with a range of materials that are too limited for commercial use. To this end, Epson does not plan to release a 3D printer until it has developed a model for industrial use.
“Existing 3D models are mostly used for making plastic toys and things like that… To Epson, this is a highly limited market,” said Mr Usui. Meanwhile, Epson is counting on the mainstay of its business – inkjet printers – to bring back growth after a painful restructuring.
Epson’s sales have fallen significantly since 2006, but the company recorded a small increase in profits in the most recent fiscal year. This could be due to the introduction of Epson’s new range of business inkjet printers, which it says will rival laser printers in speed and quality, with lower running costs (due to more affordable Epson ink cartridges) and less waste.
The company has also introduced lower end models for emerging markets (like Africa) that come with large, long lasting ink tanks. Epson also expects to see growth in niches such as textile and label printing. It also plans to invest $100 million (about R1 billion) to expand the production lines for the printheads used in its high end models.