Akita Epson Corporation, a group company of Seiko Epson Corporation, has completed construction on its inkjet printhead factory.
Construction began in November 2022, and with a total investment of 3.5-billion yen, the completion of the new factory approximately triples Akita Epson’s future printhead production capacity.
Epson’s printing solutions business provides products and services based on original Micro Piezo inkjet technology to customers in the office, home, commercial, and industrial markets. Global demand for inkjet printers is forecast to continue growing. In the office and home inkjet printer markets, strong demand for decentralised printing since the pandemic has been complemented by robust demand for high-capacity ink tank printers not only in emerging markets but also in North America and other developed economies.
Demand for commercial and industrial inkjet printers is increasing along with a technology shift from analog to digital in sectors where the printing media is not paper, such as digital textile printing. Moreover, many commercial and industrial inkjet printers use PrecisionCore MicroTFP printheads, which can be flexibly adapted for different applications by assembling MicroTFP print chips in various combinations.
Currently, about 20 per cent of Epson’s inkjet printers are equipped with PrecisionCore printheads, but this percentage is expected to increase, since commercial and industrial printers and high-speed linehead inkjet multifunction printers use a larger number of print chips per unit.
The new Akita Epson factory is designed to increase the production and assembly of printheads, the core component of inkjet printers, to keep pace with the increased production of MicroTFP print chips made possible by investment in the front-end process at Epson’s Hirooka Office, in Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture. The factory is also designed to provide space for future expansion of the facility, with a view to strengthening the product lineup, expanding printhead sales to third parties, and meeting growing demand for inkjet printers equipped with PrecisionCore MicroTFP printheads.
The new factory is situated adjacent to the existing printhead factory and has enabled greater efficiencies from components production through to assembly. In addition, production equipment and processes have been arranged to further increase human productivity and space productivity. Specifically, the new facility has a newly designed, optimal layout wherein Epson robots and other equipment will be arranged in islands. By using this island design, Epson aims to increase production efficiency by 30% on a high-throughput production line.
As a production site with premier technological capabilities, Akita Epson closely collaborates with Epson’s research and development centers in Japan. In addition, it shares the advanced production technology and know-how it gains through the production of core devices with Epson’s overseas production sites to improve the Epson Group’s overall manufacturing capabilities.
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