A Look At Epson’s New Generation of Large-Format Color Printers

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Timed with this year’s Esri International User Conference, Epson has announced the second generation of its SureColor T-Series of large format color printers.  Epson has focused improvements to its printer series towards architects, engineers and GIS professionals.  I had a chance to speak with Timothy Check, Project Manager at Epson America about the improvements to its printer series and he explained how enhancements to the SureColor T-Series were made based on existing user input with a focus on improving color output, speed, and precision.

Check explained that second generation was developed after learning what works well with the initial product launch and building on it.  The first generation printers started shipping last year and were designed for technical, engineering and scientific use with the single function of printing.  The second generation now offers the functions of  scanning, scan to email or share, copying in addition to printing.  In addition, the new Epson printers also offer the choice between single roll and dual roll printers. In total there are five printers in the series: 24″, 36”, or 44” single roll and 36”, or 44” dual roll.

Epsom's SureColor T-Series of large format color printers.

Epsom’s SureColor T-Series of large format color printers.

Color Output

In researching its customer needs, Epson learned that GIS users are primarily concerned with color accuracy and durable while those in the CAD/Architecture field are more concerned with line precision and line detail.  As a result, Epson sought to develop an ink set that offers great color and durability.  Check noted that Epson colors accurately reproduce to what is on the screen which is especially important for aerial and satellite imagery based printing.  The pigmented inks are water and fade resistant, making them archival with an estimated life span of about 100 years before fading.

Paper and Printing

As with the first generation, the second generation carries forward the multi paper media output options.  The lineup of printers can print on multiple paper thickness from basic paper to poster board. The maximum paper with has been expanded to 44 inches.

Those who have long battled with loading printer rolls will cheer about the autoloading capabilities of these printers.  Epson offers a media adaptor for loading roles meaning  no spindle rods and no fiddling with trying to feed the paper into the plotter.  Check explained the ease of paper loading: “Pull half inch of paper into the printer and the printer will take over loading the paper.”

The printer can accommodate different sized paper and media from letter sized to the maximum roll widths of  that particular printer (24″, 36”, or 44”).   A catch basket will organized and stack multiple plots.  The dual roll printer has a higher volume catch basket.

Everything on the printer is frontloading so there is no pulling the printer away from the wall.

Ink and Precision Printing

Epson produces its own inks.  Each printer has a five color system which includes  two black inks types: one for plain paper and one for photo paper.  The ink cartridges come in three sizes – small, medium, large. This means that users can select smaller ink cartridges for colors that aren’t frequently used or larger ones for frequent colors.

Check explained that the inks have been developed by Epson to be about brilliance: ink sets are bold but durable and produce sharp detail, fine and accurate output with no color shift over time.

The printers come with Epson’s PrecisionCore technology.  According to Check, these print heads offers tremendous precision on the size of the drop of ink, thereby providing high performance and consistent output.  The permanent print heads are designed to last the life of the printer.

As for print speeds: a D size drawing will print in under 25 seconds at presentation quality.  The printers produce 120 square feet an hour for photo printing.

Each Epson large format printers has a 5-Color configuration: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Matte Black, and Photo Black.  The cartridges come in three fill sizes (110 ml, 350ml, or 700 ml) which can be mixed and matched.

Each Epson large format printers has a 5-Color configuration: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, Matte Black, and Photo Black. The cartridges come in three fill sizes (110 ml, 350ml, or 700 ml) which can be mixed and matched.

Expandability

The Epson printer line offers five base printers with options to expand to the multifunction system to add in copy and scan capabilities.  True Adobe postscript hardware can also be added in which has the Ability to handle encrypted and secure PDF documents.  When printing secure documents, the user is prompted at the printer for password to print the PDF file and then wipes it from the system.

All of these features do not have to be added on at purchase but can be added on at a later point.

Copy and Scanning

Check made the statement that this line of printers are the produce the fastest copy  speeds currently on the market.  For example, a Color D sized map or plan can be  copied in under 40 seconds.  For the scanning speed and image processing, Epson created a REALOID silicon chip that drives the scanning speed and creates photo realistic copy.  Decker explained that this chip enables the Epsom line of printers to be about twice as fast processing as other printers on the market.  All processing is done within the printer with no external processing on a separate computer.  The internal print server coordinates multiple print jobs and allows for the management of the print queue.

Epsom’s image processing chip in the system removes creases and folds in the scanned document as well as any shadows from items like post-it notes.  The soft rollers allow the printers to scan thick documents.

A detailed look at the single roll model of Epsom's new generation of large format color printers.

A detailed look at the single roll model of Epsom’s new generation of large format color printers.

Cross Compatibility

Epson has designed its SureColor T-Series to function consistently across all printers.   Functionality is streamlined across both first and second generation products which means that the work flow and supplies are identical across the model.   Ink sets work on both generations.

Pricing

Price point will stay the same as the current first generation and the printers are designed with the only ongoing costs to be ink and paper.

Shipping for these printers is anticipated for mid-September. For more details including pricing visit Epson’s press release: Epson Launches Next-Generation SureColor T-Series Large-Format Color Printers.  


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