Epson entering the light production arena

Ralf Schlozer
Feb 7, 2017

On February the 3rd Epson launched two new colour inkjet MFPs: the LX-10000 (with a 100 ppm speed) and the LX-7000 (with a 75 ppm speed). The launch is interesting from several points of view. It is the first venture of a major inkjet office device vendor into the 100 ppm colour speed class. It also demonstrates Epson’s strategy to replace toner with inkjet in high end office printing. The most significant announcement is however that Epson plans to target the device not only at office, but also at the light production market. Epson does have a foot-hold in production print via its label printers (SurePress Series) and some large format printers are used for poster or proofing as well, but so far has not targeted the mainstream production print market yet.

At the centre of the device is a page-wide version of the latest generation of Epson’s PrecisionCore print head, a MEMS manufactured, compact inkjet head. The page width is achieved by combining 36 1.53 inch modules. Maximum output resolution is 600 x 2400 dpi in high image quality mode, with 600 x 1,200 dpi as standard resolution. Pigment inks are used. The printer can print on A3+ paper and up to a length of 1,200mm (via the bypass tray). Epson did not specify exact paper size or weight metrics via the standard trays. The device includes a scanner for copying function.

To entice users into higher volumes Epson has several price plans. The one for high volume users of the LX-10000 has a monthly charge based on a 5 year contract of 70,000 JPY (about US$ 630) including ink for 13,000 BW and 7,000 colour pages. Additional pages will be charged 0.8 JPY for BW (about US$ 0.007) or 3.0 JPY (about US$ 0.027) for colour, including ink and service. For an outright purchase the LX-10000 has a list price of 2,600,000 JPY (about US$ 23,000). While the running costs are comparable to existing production colour printers, the price of the printer given the speed is outstanding.

Epson LX-10000 - with finisher and large capacity tray

Epson LX-10000 – with finisher and large capacity tray

So far the device lacks some typical production device functions. The only in-line finishing option for now is a staple-finisher. There is also a large capacity tray available for a maximum of 6,050 Sheets (all trays). More options are planned to become available later. Epson did not give details on the controller, except that it will have a PostScript RIP. Hence the availability of a professional DFE is unlikely to start.

We will not know for sure how the product will be positioned in the US and Europe as the launch will happen in May in Japan only. Epson plans, however, to launch in other countries at a later point. The first aim will be the market RISO carved out for its ComColor MFPs and according to Epson it aims for 40% of this market. It is very likely that Epson is eyeing ultimately a much larger chunk of the light production print market.

Zone of Disruption

Cut-sheet & Roll-to-sheet Inkjet in the Zone of Disruption

Already in our latest road-map we expected to see more devices entering the zone of disruption. The LX-10000 and LX-7000 are likely to fall into a space below, together with the RISO ComColor. Both are fast and low cost enough to qualify, but lack the features and print quality of a device a commercial printer would expect. Still, this is an important move and with the breadth of Epson’s inkjet development power we can imagine a path moving up. We expect other vendors to join them as well.

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