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Epson Insight Day

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A long time ago (well two months ago), in a country far, far away, (well Spain actually), Epson invited TrustedReviews to a press event. Such is the nature of long lead times and Non Disclosure Agreements we haven't been able to bring you the report until now so I'll be doing my best to recall and then recount what was told to us on that day.

As well as revealing a number of new All-in-One printers, and dedicated photo inkjets and scanners there was the inevitable background history of the company and sessions that focussed on the technology that goes into producing Epson products.

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Many people will know that Epson is part of the large Seiko Epson Corporation. No surprises then that the company has its roots in watch making and that expertise today goes into producing its Piezo Electric Print heads which form the basis of Epson's print technology.

Proceedings were started by Mr Ide, President and CEO of Epson Europe who described how Epson was created after following the 1964 Seiko Olympics, after Seiko was requested to develop a printing timer for timed events. The result some four years later was an electric printer dubbed the EP-101. It just goes to show how events such as the Olympics can sprout innovation - let's hope London's event inspires as much.

As Piezo Electric is so fundamental to Epson it was no surprise to hear the announcement of a faster and more reliable print head. The new improved version now has a resolution of 360dpi, up from the previous standard of 180dpi - double the displacement from a smaller nozzle.

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It was also announced that while Epson is best known for its consumer printers, it is looking to expand into other areas, in particular business printing and printing on demand.

Mr Robert Clark, Director of Inkjet Business for Epson Europe spoke candidly about Epson charging more for its inks than third party manufacturers stating that the cost reflected the amount of research and development that Epson puts into creating its inks and in its support network.

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He had a pop at these third party manufactures stating that they damage the reputation of Epson. Of the printers returned to Epson under warranty, 37 per cent were damaged by third part inks, with Epson left to pick up the tab for repairs, when the inks had caused the problem. It's clearly a controversial issues, considering the great results achieved by third part inks in the double blind tests conducted in our initial inkjet investigation, six months ago. However, the original ink manufactures did a lot better six months later in our follow up that looked at colour fading.

Next a Hartmut Muller-Gerbes from TUV Rheinland came on stage to present figures it had gleaned from its independent testing that proved that printers with replaceable single ink tanks were more efficient than printers that used mixed ink tanks, with the former using far more of their ink in total. No surprise then that the most efficient in the tests was an Epson printer - Epson Photo R300.

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