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Wide Formats for Small Spaces

By Jamie J. Gooch

Epson America is the American affiliate of Seiko Epson Corp., an $11.7 billion company. By the company’s own measure, it has a commanding market share when it comes to the graphics printer market. Tim Check, product manager, Professional Imaging Group at Epson America, says all of the company’s senior managers have engineering backgrounds. So why hasn’t the company entered the scientific/engineering market by now?

“We have had a lot of people ask us about technical printing,” says Check. “When we looked at that opportunity, the technology we had at the time wasn’t able to be cost-effective for the technical market.”

Epson’s printers were geared to the photographic, fine art and commercial graphics market. But the company’s new printhead and inkset have changed all that. This month, Epson says it will begin shipping its SureColor T-Series, which is targeted to small- and mid-sized engineering firms.

Epson
The Epson SureColor T-Series marks the company’s entry into technical printing.

The SureColor T3000, T5000 and T7000 are designed to provide fast, accurate   plotting. The company says its new UltraChrome XD pigment ink offers crisp output on virtually any media type, and is archival quality, smudge-proof and waterproof. T-Series ink is available in 110-, 350- and 700-ml sizes.

“The series does not have a draft mode,” Check says. “It has a speed mode, but it’s still presentation quality. It can produce up to 115 A1/D-sized plots per hour.”

The T3000 is a 24-in. printer with a 41.3×44.4-in. (WxD) footprint. It retails for $2,995. The 36-in., $3,995 T5000 and 44-in., $4,995 T7000 have the same features in the larger sizes. The T7000 measures 63 in. wide with the same depth as the T3000. All of the printers are designed to be pushed up against a wall to save space. Paper and ink are loaded in the front, while USB and Gigabit Ethernet ports are on the side.

Each printer delivers plots with a minimum line thickness of 0.018 mm. All three printers can print down to 8.5×11-in. sheets. They are also all equipped with LCD touch panels that include a help walkthrough. The printers can email someone when they need attention, and when a print is ready. An optional web server is also available.

HP Goes Small

Epson isn’t the only company to realize space is at a premium in today’s engineering firms. Technical printer leader HP says the economic downturn has led to smaller workspaces and more home offices, which led the company to develop lower cost, more compact wide-format printers.

HP
The HP Designjet T120 and T520 ePrinters are the company’s web-connected, entry-level technical printers.

HP’s new Designjet T120 (24-in.) and T520 (24- and 36-in.) entry-level ePrinters are designed for students, home offices and small engineering firms. HP labels them “ePrinters” because they can take advantage of the second generation of HP’s Designjet ePrint & Share functionality. HP Designjet ePrint & Share allows mobile access and printing via a Web browser, mobile app or email.

The $1,000 T120 provides letter to D-sized printing, Wi-Fi connectivity and single printhead.

The T520 retails at $1,800 for the 24-in model and $2,500 for the 36-in version. According to the company, the T520 offers twice the speed and resolution of its predecessor, the Designjet 510. HP says the T520 operates at up to 35 seconds per D/A1 print. It has an accuracy reaching 0.0008 in. minimum line width, and up to 2,400 dpi resolution, according to HP.

Both HP and Epson realize that small- and medium-sized engineering firms continue to bring smaller print jobs in house. Their new offerings may allow those customers to save time and money by using one on-site printer for their letter-sized and many of their wide-format printing jobs.

Jamie Gooch is managing editor of Desktop Engineering. Contact him via DE-Editors@deskeng.com.

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About Jamie J. Gooch

Jamie Gooch is the managing editor of Desktop Engineering. Contact him at de-editors@deskeng.com.
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