Epson invests Kshs 4.2 billion to set up in new inkjet printheads factory at Tohoku Japan




Global technology company Epson Corporation has announced plans to invest approximately Kshs 4.2 billion [5.1 billion Yen] in the construction of a new factory for inkjet printheads in Tohoku Epson.

The construction of the factory that began on June 15, 2024, with completion targeted for September 2025. The investment in the new facility is projected to approximately quadruple Tohoku Epson’s current printhead production capacity.

Epson’s Regional Head for East and West Africa Mukesh Bector, says the new facility represents Epson’s commitment to innovation and environmental sustainability, as it will not only enhance production capabilities but also lower the environmental impact of digital printing.

The new factory building will employ a newly engineered process that will save manpower and space, with minimizing in-process inventory, automated transfer robots, and efficient layout reducing the workload on personnel. We will respond to the challenges faced by the manufacturing industry, and realize a factory of the future that is both more efficient and easier to work in.

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. The company expects to see sustained global demand for inkjet printers based on current growth in high-speed units for the office and on continued demand for high-capacity ink tank printers for the home and office in emerging markets and North America.

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. These printheads can be flexibly adapted for different applications by assembling MicroTFP print chips in various combinations.

Epson expects further growth in the use of PrecisionCore printheads in commercial and industrial printers as well as in inkjet multifunction printers with high-speed lineheads.

Epson is strengthening its printhead sales business to accelerate inkjet innovation and expand the applications for digital printing, which has a far lower environmental impact than conventional printing. With an ever expanding range of printing applications as well as emerging needs in areas such as electronics and bioprinting. Epson is looking to collaborate with partners with new ideas and technologies. Through such open innovation, we are seeking to expand the possibilities of PrecisionCore technology.

“Epson’s investment in the new inkjet printhead factory will significantly boost the production capacity, meeting the growing global demand for high-speed and high-capacity printers in various markets including Africa,” said Bector.

Tohoku Epson began manufacturing printheads [CHIPS heads] in 1995 and launched volume production of PrecisionCore printheads in June 2013 on a fully automated assembly line that makes extensive use of Epson robots. It has been accumulating expertise in printhead production and building a solid base of production technology, increasing its competitive advantage as a domestic production site.

Seiko Epson’s Hirooka Office, in Nagano Prefecture, handles front-end processing of micro-TFP print chips. Plans call for production of these chips to increase over the next three years. The new Tohoku Epson factory will accommodate this increase and, together with Akita Epson Building No. 10, construction on which was completed in December 2023, will expand domestic back-end process production capacity.

To ensure stable production, each of the two sites in the Tohoku region will be allocated responsibility for different models, but to ensure business continuity, both sites will be able to flexibly adapt to production fluctuations with production lines for the most popular models and with shared lines. This will enable the company to strengthen its product lineup in response to future demand for inkjet printers equipped with PrecisionCore printheads.

This is the first new building at Tohoku Epson since the construction of a semiconductor fabrication facility in 1997. To limit noise and ensure safety in the vicinity of the site, the company will shorten the construction period by pouring the concrete floor in winter instead of stopping work. As a corporate citizen rooted in the local community, Tohoku Epson aims to have this factory contribute to the development and harmony of the local community.

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