Seiko Epson Corporation has invested approximately 16 billion yen*1 in two new production lines in Japan. The lines have been constructed to manufacture next-generation print heads – the core component in inkjet printers – for use in business and industrial printing systems to come to market in the latter part of the 2013 fiscal year.
This capital investment, made over three years from fiscal 2011, has been made to build new production lines that contain a host of original Epson manufacturing technologies. These new lines will be located in Epson’s Suwa-Minami Plant in Nagano Prefecture and the Sakata Plant in Yamagata Prefecture.
Production demands a high level of technical skill, and Epson was required to bring to bear its many years of accumulated expertise in monozukuri – the art and science of manufacturing – to make the production lines a reality.
Epson will conduct front-end manufacturing processes at Suwa-Minami and back-end processes at Sakata. Front end processes involve manufacturing the ultra-fine MEMS component that forms the core of the print head, while the back-end processes involve using Epson’s industrial robot technology to complete the assembly process. By fully automating the assembly line process, Epson will achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality.
Epson’s new print head is based on an advanced new and original design including development of new materials to be used in the print head’s actuator component. The print head combines the inkjet technology and expertise that Epson has accumulated over 20 years with state-of-the-art MEMS production technology. Using the high precision, durability, and ink versatility of Epson’s renowned Micro Piezo print head technology as a base, the new head pursues more compact design, even greater precision, and improved cost performance.
Epson believes that the enhanced precision and density of the new print head will act as a platform for significantly improving the fundamental performance of Epson inkjet printers, and for making further improvements going forward.
“Epson’s corporate vision calls for the expansion of the inkjet printer business, and the new production lines represent an essential element in these plans,” said Motonori Okumura, executive officer and general administrative manager, Imaging Products Key Component Research & Engineering Division. “Going forward, Epson will enhance competitiveness by expanding use of the new print head into its lineup and by further promoting the use of common platforms throughout the inkjet printer lineup.”