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Author Topic: New Epson printers in fall...  (Read 44186 times)
Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2007, 05:43:39 PM »
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It was neither "cynical" nor "arrogant" but strictly based on economics...

But seeing cynicism and arrogance is in itself, cynical and arrogant (and a bit ignorant of the cost of doing business).
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Mr. Schewe is a titan of the digital photography realm, and I hesitate to disagree with such an illustrious source, but...
I bought an Epson 7600 early on, and while I was delighted with the output quality, the Mk/Pk swap was an obvious shortcoming. We are now...what, five years out? and Epson still isn't correcting this glaring issue that forces users to waste hundreds of dollars of ink? Even with the second generation successor?

If the large majority of Epson's printers are sold to service bureaus that have two or more printers on-site (so the Mk/Pk issue is moot), then I can understand why they won't bother correcting this problem. I have no idea whether this is the case. But if individual hobbyists and mom & pop studios are a big piece of their business, and they have chosen not to address it because we had nowhere else to go, then cynical seems to be the right word.
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Schewe
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« Reply #41 on: July 27, 2007, 07:09:24 PM »
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I bought an Epson 7600 early on, and while I was delighted with the output quality, the Mk/Pk swap was an obvious shortcoming. We are now...what, five years out? and Epson still isn't correcting this glaring issue that forces users to waste hundreds of dollars of ink? Even with the second generation successor?
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The mechanics of the 7/9600 and 7/9800 are very similar. The head was doubled in swath size from 1/2 inch to 1 inch to double the effective speed of the printer. The ink formulation from the original UltraChrome ro K3 ink was pretty impressive as well. It required adding a channel to get to 8 nozzle channels-which for several engineering reasons was the max the head could handle. The Chassis was also limited to 4 ink cart receptacles on each side.

So, what you have had Epson do? Stick another cart on the side?

Yes, the ink swap WAS a real pain with the 7/9600 series and made quicker and with less ink waste on the 7/9800, but the basic overall design of those printers were stuck at 8 inks at once. The 4000 was a nice improvement in that you could load all 8 of the original UltraChrome inks in at once. Then along comes K3 with 9 inks and the 4800 had to do swaps. Some people chose the Phatt Black solution which was sub-optimal in that it dropped out the 3rd K. Epson didn't add the 3rd K out of meanness-they honestly thought it was needed–and K3 output is better than the original UC output.

The 3800 was designed from the ground up to add the 9th line to an 8 channel head...an innovative solution to the swap problem but one that could not be put into an updated 7/9880 because there's not room. That will have to wait until the next full version rev of the printers...

Again the time scale and the amount of work required for these changes are substantial. Epson can only do what they can do. So, yes, the ink swap on the 7/9880 wasn't touched this time around. And if you think it's some evil conspiracy, you are wrong.

Personally, I'm looking forward to a time when Epson CAN pack a 12 ink system in the chassis and add more colors and expand the inks to incorporate potentially even more K inks. There's a fundamental problem adding blue, green and red ink–which HP and Canon have found out, just adding these additive primaries in an ink ain't gonna magically and radically expand the color gamut. Really, really good magenta, yellow and cyan inks can.

Then there's the issue of D-Max and gloss differential. Both of which Epson has done a really good job with-without having to go to the extra inks that Canon and HP have had to do.

And yes. . .these printers are indeed designed for professional printing. For a pro, the ink swap has to be factored in as a cost of doing biz...do you bite the bullet and but another printer? Sure, if your volume is high enough on different media.

Any way you look it it, it's a lot more complicated than Epson just wanting to force people to waste ink. . .
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ternst
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« Reply #42 on: July 27, 2007, 07:13:29 PM »
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I doubt many folks will shed tears over giant companies losing a few bucks on the sale of a printer that drinks very expensive ink - it is long been known that selling printers on the cheap was mostly to sell ink, which is where the bulk of the money is made. I applaud the big guys for making these sorts of quality printers available for humble mortals like myself at such reasonable prices, and I don't mind the high ink costs either, but I won't lose any sleep over poor HP or Epson or Canon selling them below cost, whine on...
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Schewe
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« Reply #43 on: July 27, 2007, 08:01:11 PM »
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but I won't lose any sleep over poor HP or Epson or Canon selling them below cost, whine on...
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Neither will I. . .between Epson, Canon and HP we now have 3 companies duking it out and I suspect there's really only room for two. Epson and HP have shown the best long term commitment. We'll have to see about Canon. The stuff about the print head life is kinda telling. Rather than take an approach like HP for having the heads by color and much cheaper, Canon has two heads at $600 per head (I think I've got that right, right?). Kinda changes the nature of how Canon priced their printers expecting heavy users to be dropping $1,200 each time the heads have to be replaced.
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ternst
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« Reply #44 on: July 27, 2007, 09:01:38 PM »
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Jeff - ouch, that is a hefty price! It almost puts them in the category of the low-cost printers that are so cheap it is cheaper to throw them away and buy a new printer when they run out of ink since a full ink set is more than the cost of the printer with all the ink. I try not to complain too much about the price of any printers or their ink since it is all so much better than the good old color darkroom days, or even paying for the early LightJet prints - the price we pay for incredible quality right at our finger tips these days is well worth it, and really CHEAP compared to what it use to cost us, and in the grand scheme of things, only peanuts, or should I say, a roll of film and processing here and there (but don't tell them - they can keep their prices low and it won't bother me a bit).

Tim Ernst in Arkansas
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frankric
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« Reply #45 on: July 27, 2007, 09:30:50 PM »
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Jeff

<<< But seeing cynicism and arrogance is in itself, cynical and arrogant (and a bit ignorant of the cost of doing business). >>>

Thanks.... Actually, having been involved in manufacturing, I'm well aware of the costs of R&D, even for something seemingly as simple as adding an extra channel to an existing design. I still think Epson's decision not to solve the black ink swap shortcoming in some way was cynical and arrogant. Although adding a ninth channel would have been the most elegant solution, any way that worked and didn't require wasting the equivalent of a 220ml cart of ink (I checked) for a round trip would have been OK by me.

I used the word cynical because I believe they figured we had nowhere else to go and would accept such a cost. Arrogant because they thought (correctly) that they were King of the Hill and a feature shortcoming such as this would not affect their sales. Not sure how expressing such a view makes me ignorant as well as cynical and arrogant, but anyway.....

<<< You can build all sorts of conspiracy theories if you like but a lot of the limitations come from the extremely expensive costs of R&D and manufacturing. >>>

Conspiracy theories? Give me a break. I was merely expressing an opinion on Epson's design decision - which I never suggested had any basis other than economics. i.e. they believed they did not need to solve the problem because of their strong market position.

<<< ...it's simply not practical to produce a nine channel print head. The 3800 doesn't even have one, it's 8 channels with 9 lines and you must purge the head when swapping. >>>

Maybe, though there's a pic of the new printhead for the 11880 here. It appears to be a nine channel head.

Despite all this, the fact is that I bought a 7800 in full knowledge of this shortcoming and I'm very happy with the printer. I'm very pleased that Epson has made this technology available to us at a reasonable price. I'd much prefer to have this printer with the MK/PK hassle than not to have it at all.

Regards

Frank
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Let Biogons be Biogons
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« Reply #46 on: July 29, 2007, 10:04:28 AM »
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Given the the new 4880/7880/9880 printers are basically the 4800/7800/9800 printers with new heads, new firmware and a new ink, what is the possibility to upgrade existing x800 printers to include x8880 printers?  Firmware is easy and cheap to upgrade, as is ink.  A new head might be an expensive replacement, but it certainly is cheaper than a while new printer.  Would this be possible?    Printer heads can get worn out anyway and replaced as a somewhat normal procedure anyway.  

I suspect that while Epson might not get a lot of people swapping their x800 printers for a new x880 printer for the incremental improvements, Epson might do a brisk business in upgrading customers existing x800 printers.  (and I would point out that say doubling the output of the new heads to serve an upgrade market would significantly reduce the unit cost of the heads and overall make the new technology more profitable for them)  Just a thought.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #47 on: July 29, 2007, 10:12:28 AM »
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Given the the new 4880/7880/9880 printers are basically the 4800/7800/9800 printers with new heads, new firmware and a new ink, what is the possibility to upgrade existing x800 printers to include x8880 printers? 

There are new heads for a reason! You'd have to upgrade them so that's a deal breaker.

When my NDA is up, we can talk more about this. While one might suggest you could use the new inks in the older printer using the older heads, you don't want to do that! Enough said. The newer printers have hardware and inks that are working in tandem for a reason.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2007, 10:36:47 AM »
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There are new heads for a reason! You'd have to upgrade them so that's a deal breaker.

When my NDA is up, we can talk more about this.
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But wouldn't just upgrading the head (along with the relevant firmware and ink) be significantly cheaper and more attractive to significantly more users than upgrading the whole printer (especially from all the comments I've read on multiple forums) -- and much less of a deal breaker for their customers?   I think such an upgrade service would significant increase sales or profitability for Epson.

I'm looking forward to hearing more when your NDA is up -- mid-August, right?
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abiggs
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« Reply #49 on: July 29, 2007, 02:04:13 PM »
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Shoot, I am just looking forward to the day when I can have two printers in one. I would love to have a 24" or 44" printer that also has a 17" cassette on the front for cut sheets. Since 90% of my prints are on cut sheets, I need something like a 3800 or 4800, but every now and then I need to do 20 or so prints for a print show. Usually something around 20x30 or 24x36 in size.

I mentioned this to the head of R&D for the HP Z3100 series, and he stared at me with this dazzled look. "Wow, we had not though of that. Great idea!"

One can only wish to have it all, no?
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Andy Biggs
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dilip
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« Reply #50 on: July 29, 2007, 08:09:24 PM »
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But wouldn't just upgrading the head (along with the relevant firmware and ink) be significantly cheaper and more attractive to significantly more users than upgrading the whole printer (especially from all the comments I've read on multiple forums) -- and much less of a deal breaker for their customers?   I think such an upgrade service would significant increase sales or profitability for Epson.

I'm looking forward to hearing more when your NDA is up -- mid-August, right?
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Epson's heads are somewhat permanent.  When they released the 3800 Michael has a video talking about the new printer (it's somewhere on youtube... I'm too lazy to look for it right now) where this was mentioned.  While Canon and HP heads are made for replacement, the Epson heads are designed for the printer life.

My guess is that the cost of replacement (along with the required labour cost) would put people in a range that didn't make it worthwhile. Afterall, there is a price at which it's worth having two printers right?

--dilip
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Let Biogons be Biogons
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« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2007, 08:50:05 PM »
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Epson's heads are somewhat permanent.  When they released the 3800 Michael has a video talking about the new printer (it's somewhere on youtube... I'm too lazy to look for it right now) where this was mentioned.  While Canon and HP heads are made for replacement, the Epson heads are designed for the printer life.
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That's interesting, because the Epson Field Repair Guides describe a specific "Print Head Replacement procedure".  They are field replaceable by a service technician (you can't really do it yourself).    From what I remember of  the costs, it's about $500-600 for the head and a few hundred for the technician to visit and do it.  The price makes it more feasible to do with the 7800 or 9800 than a 4800.  It's not clear that the newer 3800 is a departure from this.  The head certainly take a while to wear out, but the option to replace them when they do, or when they fail, clearly exists, and it is clearly and significantly less than the cost of a new printer.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #52 on: July 30, 2007, 09:38:51 AM »
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Again the time scale and the amount of work required for these changes are substantial.
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Huuummmm... I don't think so.

Using modern 3D CAD software with associative design, these changes are at most a matter of a few weeks of work for 2 experienced designers.

Re-designing the head is a different matter, but this would not have been required, right?

What would be more challenging is manufacturing because of the partial re-design of the assembly line and the re-tooling, but that is in the end mostly handled by suppliers who will do it if you pay for it.

In the end, I very much doubt that the problem is related to the engineering/design burden on Epson's part. If it is, then they have a very serious need to re-think they design processes. And again, I know what I am talking about.

It is a 97% economical decision related to the cost of re-tooling.

Regards,
Bernard
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2007, 03:15:23 PM »
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I can't quote the person who I talked to and I can't indicate the company he's with nor of course give his name, but let's just say he's knowledgeable with the costs associated with the development and manufacturing of multi-color print engines for photo printers. He judges the original Canon 5000 as selling for less than the total cost of the components and manufacturing. So, Canon was actually selling them at retail for less than it cost Canon to develop, manufacture and distribute. The same applies to HP.

Now, will their costs go down? Sure. . .as they sell and manufacture more and more printers, they can spread the cost of development out over a longer period of time and the unit cost of components will go down thereby reducing the effective cost/printer. But, that's over time. Right now, they're lost leaders.
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The fact that printers in general and smaller printers more specific are not bringing money in for their manufacturers is nothing new and applies to Epson as well. The real money has to be earned with ink, media supplies, service, spare parts etc.

Some time ago I made some calculations on the nozzle price for several Epson heads and the two thermo head designs of resp. Canon and HP. Based on spare part prices. Like in the car industry spare parts are good income for the manufacturers.

The 180 nozzle per channel head of the Epson 10000/10600 generations and its 8 channel variation used on Rolands etc is still the most expensive one, think 1000 $. The 9000 and 9600 heads, 6x 64 nozzles, 7 x 96 nozzles far cheaper, the 9800 8x180 in between. The 180 nozzle design has been used in two generations of Epson printers already + it is sold to third parties like Roland and Mutoh. If the basic design isn't paid right now it will never be paid. The 7 channel 96 nozzles head of the 9600 generation is cheaper and is only used for that generation of UC printers. More likely they made a loss on that design.

The new Epson 360 nozzle per channel 8 channel head is introduced in one model only now and will be placed in a market with true competition. For 60" models there are 3-4 manufacturers, part is replacing older machines (HP, Roland, Mimaki, Colorspan, Encad) in different segments of the market. I'm very curious about the head's spare part price.

In my estimation it will be difficult for Epson to compete with the new thermo head manufacturing methods (MEMS) that HP, Canon and Kodak use. In the water based ink inkjet market we discuss here, the thermo heads are equally suited for the task and several times more nozzles are way cheaper to create in thermo heads than in piëzo heads with that manufacturing method. The variable dot size is no longer that important either, smoother prints with fine detail are the result of more minimum sized droplets + new dithering methods. That is shown in Epson 3800 prints as well. The competition in inkjet heads then is a battle on droplet creation frequency and number of nozzles. Piëzo heads are not the best in price/performance on that aspect right now. In fact several times more expensive for what they deliver.

HP created a new piëzo head (X2) using the MEMS manufacturing method that also is used for the thermo heads. This head is however for the outdoor sign etc business. For its new Scitex and HP solvent and UV cure printers that will replace the existing Scitex and HP printers equipped with Xaar, Spectra and Konica heads. They are aware of the different needs in the market and the head designs that suit them. I think they made the right calculations where to use thermo heads and where piëzo heads.


Ernst Dinkla

try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/[/url]
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sgt53
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« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2007, 10:01:16 PM »
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So should we also expect to see a 3880 anytime soon?  Even if no other changes are made, it's hard to see why Epson would not update the 3800 (and maybe the 2400) to use the new "vivid magenta" inkset.  

Any thoughts on this?  I was just about ready to buy the 3800, and now...
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #55 on: August 02, 2007, 03:03:16 AM »
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So should we also expect to see a 3880 anytime soon?  Even if no other changes are made, it's hard to see why Epson would not update the 3800 (and maybe the 2400) to use the new "vivid magenta" inkset. 

Any thoughts on this?  I was just about ready to buy the 3800, and now...
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I wouldn't expect wonders of that Vivid Magenta. The 9600-9800 inksets were not bad in gamut if compared to the competition. I doubt you will see another 17" Epson model appear within a year otherwise Epson wouldn't introduce the 4880 in the stop gap range they have announced right now.

The 17" choices are the Epson 3800-4800 Canon iPF5000 right now and the last two will be replaced by the 4880 and iPF5100. They are clearing the Canon iPF5000 right now.

Ernst Dinkla

try: [a href=\"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/join]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wide_Inkjet_Printers/join[/url]
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Let Biogons be Biogons
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« Reply #56 on: August 02, 2007, 09:02:27 AM »
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So should we also expect to see a 3880 anytime soon?  Even if no other changes are made, it's hard to see why Epson would not update the 3800 (and maybe the 2400) to use the new "vivid magenta" inkset. 

Any thoughts on this?  I was just about ready to buy the 3800, and now...
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If you look at the promotional materials for the 3800, it already appears to incorporate the new firmware that produces the improved/finer dot pattern of the x880 series.  The only other feature that could be added is the new magenta ink and that might not be enough to justify a new model.  If a 3880 does appear, you might also see an R2480.
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sgt53
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« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2007, 09:40:04 PM »
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Many thanks for the helpful replies.
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larrybk
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« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2007, 08:30:45 PM »
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Aug 13th has come and almost gone, some NDA's are expired today? I havent seen any wide format printer announcements on either the Epson US or UK sites regarding the new models. Are those on the list who say they know details now able to discuss them?

Larry
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