The new printers – SureColor-R5030 and SureColor-R5030L use 6-color resin inks, plus optimizer for quality prints and offer versaility in applications. They can print with immediate lamination and scratch resistance and come with user-replaceable printheads, Epson Edge Print to track jobs, manage variable data and streamline workflow.
‘So far, the customer reaction has been positive, and we hope to see a good interest in the latex technology,’ Vasudevan LK, general manager of large format print at Epson India says.
HP dominates the latex print market. But now that Epson has joined the bandwagon with its latest launch, Vasudevan is of the opinion that the latex printing market will grow.
Remote service for high-end industrial models
The uncertain market circumstances during the lockdown prompted the manufacturer to adopt new measures to support its customers.
‘We helped our customers keep their machines healthy when it was sitting idle for 3-4 months. It protected their investment from damage. One of the notable things we saw was that 98 percent of the Epson printers did not fail in face of the crisis last year,’ Vasudevan explains.
The company used digital platforms to educate its customers to maintain their machines during the idle months. The Epson team created small videos to help customers keep their printers in a working condition – a measure the company has adopted as a long-term strategy.
‘The newly launched latex and other high-end printers come with a remote service feature. It means that the Epson server will be connected to the printer and the team will perform timely assessment of the machine. We will remotely monitor those printers. This feature is available in the high-end models launched recently.
We don’t want that when our customers invest so much on these high-end industrial machines, that they face challenges or have to wait for service in event of busy workdays. We will equip them with the knowledge to service the machine on their own so that the job does not suffer and production doesn’t stop,’ he elaborates.
Large format print market picks up
The outdoor advertising industry lost huge chunks of revenue when brands shifted to digital mediums and slashed their print budget. It created a tough situation for signage printers to sustain their business. Vasudevan says that it was in September 2020 when Epson began to see the demand for its large format signage printers.
‘Brands started investing in print from September 2020 onwards. That is when our signage printers picked up,’ he says. After the economic lockdown ended, the indoor graphic gained popularity and print businesses found new opportunities.
Epson India also noticed a high demand for its CAD printers after the lockdown. The sale of these printers helped achieve most of the company’s target. After a month, photo printers picked up significantly, says Vasudevan.
Upcoming technology trends in 2021
Speaking of the upcoming trends in the printing technology, Vasudevan explains that there are six major print technologies – solvent, eco-solvent, UV, latex, dye-sublimation and raw solvent. ‘The market has to evolve within the lines of these technologies.’
According to him, there is a shift in the signage industry. ‘Printers were shifting from solvent to UV printing till 2019. UV seemed like a promising technology. But after the pandemic hit the country, printers came back to raw solvent because of the lower running and machine cost. The sudden shift from solvent to UV was reversed.
‘But I am not sure if it will stay like this in the coming time. I feel that UV will be back in 2021 because the application possibilities are endless,’ he says.
He adds that a major change that we may see in the industry is a shift from analog to digital printing. He cites the example of textile printing where analog printing techniques such as screen printing took longer time and more resources to print. Comparatively, digital technologies such as dye-sublimation is more affordable causing print businesses to move to digital printing.
‘Quantity of printing on textile is very huge. Shifting to digital is not possible overnight. But more and more digital printers are entering the digital market. And, after 5-6 years down the time, 20-30 percent of the printing will definitely happen on digital,’ he says.
Apart from the upcoming latex printer, Epson India is planning to soon launch new products for a range of applications.