Two inkjet technology businesses have announced expansion plans. Kyocera is to open a third factory in Vietnam and Epson, which has opened a new plant to boost production of its PrecisionCore print heads.
The Epson factory has been under construction for two years. It will produce chips for the PrecisionCore thin film printhead which will in turn mean a three-fold increase in capacity to produce the versatile printhead. Epson is planning for further growth in wide format, textile and label printing.
The company has also been expanding its paper print products with a new range of high capacity tank MFP devices, anticipating sales of 9.5 million units in this year, an increase of 1.7 million machines over the 2017 financial year.
However, the main growth will come from commercial print rather than office print. In a statement the company says: “By leveraging the production capacity, Epson also plans to roll out sales of its PrecisionCore printheads for large format printers worldwide and work with its partners to accelerate the shift to digital in commercial and industrial printing.”
The ¥25.5 billion plant at Shiojiri will also act as a twin for the Suwa Minami plant should natural disasters occur. It is positioned next to Epson’s R&D headquarters and is designed to be more efficient offering a 20% higher space productivity than previous plants, important in space constrained Japan.
Kyocera’s investment is in Vietnam and will add almost 32,000m2 of production space for document printers. The company recently announced that in the new year it will introduce the first of a range of production printers.
Further details of these first printers emerged last week. The TasKalfa 13600 ids the flagship machine printing 136ppm mono at 1200x4800dpi resolution through a VCSEL laser. The TasKalfa 11100 and 9600 print at 111ppm and 96ppm respectively. The printers will come with inline folding and stitching options.
The new plant will be Kyocera's third factory on the site which opened in 2012 and will be by far the largest when it opens in 12 months' time.
The factory has been designed with Industry 4.0 in mind. Data will be collected at all points of production and fed back to managers in visual form to help improve efficiency of production the company says. Once complete the site will empty 4,500.
Epson is expanding production of the chips needed for its PrecisionCore printhead as it pushes into more markets, including direct to garment printing, with its inkjet technology. At the same time, Kyocera is growing its production capacity.