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Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Why inkjet is the printing technology of the future

04-Jan-2018
Why inkjet is the printing technology of the future
Technology has advanced our lives and how we work in ways that we could never have imagined ten years ago. If we look further back, today’s workplace is in many ways unrecognisable to that of the generation before us – and tomorrow’s workplace will change further still. But through all the change, some technologies manage to have incredible staying power, while others come and go. If we take inkjet printing as just one example, this technology has been extensively developed and re-developed for over 65 years,[1] and today, my focus lies on having inkjet take a greater share of the €38 billion EMEA business printing market[2].

We’re at the beginning of a great technological age in which the future of work is full of uncertainty. Many theories have been constructed around the workplace of tomorrow – some possibilities more imminent than others. But what is certain is that the technology we use is redefining “business as usual”. In an age where technology is all around us, the advances we’re seeing are driving expectations for higher productivity and efficiency, as well as lower costs and environmental impact. So it is crucial that we can trust the technology we choose to be the best option to get the job done, but also to make us better at what we do and make our workplaces better places to be. I believe inkjet is one such technology.

Epson has invested €400 million in new inkjet production facilities in Japan and other markets, and we’ve made a commitment to invest a further €185 million over the next three years, specifically to further develop our PrecisionCore printhead technology. Incremental innovations in inkjet over time have already responded to many of today’s demands in the workplace, and the technology is so flexible and adaptable that it will continue to meet future needs. I don’t believe that laser technology, for example, has the same staying power. It will likely one day be among the ranks of VHS recorders and typewriters. As a technology it was introduced almost 30 years after inkjet, and for a time it brought improved business benefits in terms of cost and speed. But the benefits of other technologies are fast overtaking the limited improvements laser is able to offer, and the once ubiquitous technology is now losing ground.

Industry analyst firm, IDC, has indicated that the overall business inkjet market is expected to grow at a rate of 10.2% (CAGR) by 2020[3], and inkjet is expected to account for 34% of the total business printer market in Europe by 2019[4], reaffirming Epson’s belief in and commitment to this technology moving forward. Epson is already experiencing significant market share growth within the business inkjet sector, and in Europe this share reached 40% in Q1 of 2017[5]. The steadfastness of the technology will continue because it has achieved alignment to all of the key drivers of businesses today: increased efficiency, productivity and quality, as well as reduced cost and environmental impact.

It is clear to me that the future of business printing is inkjet, and Epson stands firmly behind this technology. We are driving it forward because we have the same expectations as our customers. We develop efficient, compact, precision technologies with the aim of making positive differences and addressing real challenges in the workplace. Whether through printing, visual, wearable or robotic technologies, we remain grounded in our long history of innovative craftsmanship, which is rooted in our DNA. We will continue to provide the technologies that enhance the capabilities of workplaces today and tomorrow, and we’ll continue to be a part of the change in the way we all do business, for the better.

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