Epson is making PrecisionCore printheads available to third-party developers and will begin selling the inkjet printheads globally in the first half of the 2019 fiscal year. Wide Format Online publisher Andy McCourt says the move is very good news. 

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  Epson's printhead lineup for external sales
Andy McCourt 359 b
  Andy McCourt, Wide Format Online

The news that Epson is making PrecisionCore inkjet printheads available to third-party developers is very good indeed. Up until now, PrecisionCore has only been available in Epson-made machines such as the WorkForce office range and the new SurePress 6034VW label press.

The development of PrecisionCore technology represents the largest R&D investment in Epson's history and puts the company back in a leading position in the industrial piezo printhead sector that has been dominated by Xaar, Fujifilm/Spectra, Ricoh, Kyocera, Konica Minolta and ToshibaTec. Epson's 1440 nozzle MACH and DX series of smaller printheads have been used successfully in industrial arrays but, while the image quality is superb, the demands of industrial production speeds had sidelined Epson at the top-end of the market. All that changes with the liberalisation of access to PrecisionCore.

Third party developers will create arrays and electronic controls that will then translate into exciting new printers and possibly even presses. The scalability of PrecisionCore's 120.2mm line-heads should result in wider, faster sheet and web-fed printers as well as flatbed UV machines of remarkable image quality. At 600dpi native resolution - visually increasable with arrays - PrecisionCore is double the resolution of the L1440 300dpi series.

Printhead manufacturers license their products to developers with support and developments kits that enable applications that would be hard to replicate in-house. Xaar, for example, made all of its early revenues in license fees before selling their printheads under their own brand and still today, there is no Xaar-branded complete printer. Being the renowned company it is, Seiko-Epson is sure to provide excellent support to third-party developers. PrecisionCore is compatible with UV, Solvent and Aqueous inks and in 'democratising' the technology, Epson has taken a bold step as there is no guarantee that every PrecisionCore-powered device will use Epson ink. Interestingly, in the company's announcement, it also mentions printed electronics and 'bio-printing.' This can only mean using new materials such as Graphene for electronics and tissue cells for important medical advances such as skin grafts for burns victims.

Stand by for the announcements of third-party PrecisionCore cooperations, followed by some amazing new presses/printers - hopefully in time for drupa 2020!

  - Andy McCourt



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