In conjunction with a recent ribbon-cutting for Epson America’s new corporate offices and executive briefing center, Mark Mathews, Epson’s vice president, North America commercial sales and marketing, shared how the company sees todays’ wide-format space and what the industry can expect from the company moving forward.
Epson has a long history in inkjet. As a company, what are the key developments Epson has brought to inkjet, and how has that contributed to what inkjet has become?
“Epson has a long and successful history in inkjet. Throughout the company’s existence, its focus has been on making products that are efficient, compact, and precise. Out of that thinking came our PrecisionCore printheads. 90% of Epson’s printheads use MEMS (micro-electromechanical system) technology, which is different from thermal inkjet. They’re used to print a broad range of products with different ink sets. At Epson, we believe in pursuing strong image quality, sustainability, and making our customers more productive.”
How do you describe the Epson wide-format equipment portfolio, and what markets are the systems aimed toward?
“We have a broad range of equipment. Epson started in wide-format with systems for photo proofing and has a strong reputation for high quality. At one time, the company had a 90% market share in that space. Today we have wide-format inkjet machines for graphic applications with Epson’s SureColor S- and R- series printers, as well as machines for corporate offices, CAD and technical printing, direct to fabric, and also rigid signage with the SureColor V7000 UV flatbed. Again, our PrecisionCore technology drives all of that.”
What is the newest addition to Epson’s wide-format portfolio? Why that machine at this time?
“The SureColor V7000 flatbed is our most recent addition, and the reception has exceeded our original launch plans. It has been a runaway success for Epson, and it drew strong attention at this year’s ISA show. Based on that success, you will likely see other products for the rigid signage market. Our customers want us to fill existing holes, and the V7000 is designed to meet their needs. Epson is here to win the long-term game: we don’t launch products until they meet our standards. Because of this, we brought a great machine to market at a great price point.”
It seems to me that quality it a strong angle for Epson, as opposed to just focusing on speed. Which of these are customers most interested in?
“From the buyer’s standpoint, are they looking for the highest level of quality, or do they want to get more done in a shorter time? There is a need in the market for both and equipment manufacturers are working to balance that. While Epson leans a bit more toward image quality, I also think that gap has closed. We’ve seen examples where one high-production wide-format machine has been replaced with two less productive machines with better image quality. People want the flexibility, and this approach also gives them redundancy.”
Without giving away any “secret sauce,” what can we expect to see from Epson moving forward – specifically for wide-format systems, but also for digital printing technology in general?
“I think you will see Epson more deeply serving the “maker” craft market. We believe there is a lot of space to grow there. You can expect to see more UV-cured printing – connect the dots on that. We also expect to grow in label printing, which exploded during COVID. The company has a robust mid-term business plan, and you can expect to see continued growth from us.”