21 Feb 2024

Epson sees encouraging growth in large format printer market share

Epson LFP Technology

Having made surpisingly little impact in the professional wide format 'print for pay' market under their own brand (systems such as Mimaki, Mutoh and Roland do however rely heavily on Epson printhead and controller technology), Epson can still boast some very impressive figures in terms of their market share in those sectors that sit just outside of what the typical LFR reader might deem to be 'our market'.

Where Epson do excel is in fine art and photographic reproduction, where their printers are very much accepted as the benchmark that competing printers are measured against.

Their dominance in those particular sectors has no doubt played a central role in their continued growth during 2009.

Epson has increased its UK market share in the large format inkjet printing (LFP) market by 7.5% in Q3 2009 resulting in a 71.5% total market share of all A2-A0+  printers sold in the UK in the last quarter.

The Epson Stylus Pro range features models ranging from the 17-inch Stylus Pro 3880 up to the 64-inch Stylus Pro 11880. They all combine the latest hardware innovations and industry-leading ink technology to produce high quality and value for money for photography, fine art, proofing and POS printing applications.

Following the launch of the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 in September this year, Epson’s share of the A2+ market grew by almost 3% in Q3 to 93%.  Its A1+ market share also grew 3% to 58%, the highest level since 2004. The biggest growth area for Epson was in the 44-inch A0+ printer sector, where its market share leapt by 18% on the previous quarter. The reason for growth in both these sectors is because of the introduction of Epson’s latest professional printers, the Stylus Pro 7900 and Stylus Pro 9900, which incorporate the new UltraChrome HDR inkset. Finally, market share in the 64-inch sector, a relatively new area for Epson with the Stylus Pro 11880, more than doubled to just over 26%.

Martin Johns, Senior Product Manager, Epson UK, says: “By continual innovation, a focus on quality, and competitive pricing, Epson is the inkjet print technology of choice for many professional graphics users. Companies have the confidence that when they invest in an Epson printer, they can offer their customers added value and service for a relatively modest investment.”

ap denmark’s New HP Produced Acoustic Graphics Resonate Well With European Market

Acoustic Graphics from ap denmark

HP today announced that the European large format graphic consumables supplier, ap denmark, is enjoying tremendous success with its new acoustic graphic application.

Benefiting many businesses looking to reduce the affects of noise created in indoor public spaces, the new solution developed by ap denmark, is produced by European Print Service Provider (PSP), Sumopix, using HP Designjet printers and media.

Due to the current worldwide trend in minimalist interior décor and the eradication of soft furnishings, noise levels within many Scandinavian businesses and public places have become a new and expanding health and workplace issue. As such, the new ap denmark acoustic graphic application is being widely adopted by schools, businesses, architecture firms and managers of other public buildings.

Ib Norholm, ap denmark CEO said: “Market interest in this new application is huge, as it’s a great way to solve the problem of sound reduction, while also enabling the production of bespoke graphics and images or branded decoration. The new solution includes HP canvas stretched on wooden frames, HP inks and the images printed on the HP Designjet Z6100 – this complete HP workflow ensures colour and print quality assurance.”

The HP Designjet Z6100 Printer series is available in 42” and 60” models with an embedded spectrophotometer, used to deliver vivid, high-impact prints quickly. The series is ideal for indoor and short-term outdoor banners and large format applications such as posters, photos and fine art prints, drawings, maps and renders.

Used in combination with HP Professional Matte Canvas White, HP Vivera pigment inks provide customers of the new acoustic graphics, with durable prints and long lasting colour.

“The graphics’ acoustic capabilities are provided by a unique foam filling that is inserted into the cavity at the back of the canvas frame. The HP inks are perfect for this product, as they penetrate the microscopic canvas fibres, without blocking the sound from moving through the canvas holes to the noise cushioning behind,” said Norholm.

In addition, a bespoke software system developed by ap denmark enables PSPs like Sumopix and other European print businesses to tile images used for acoustic graphics. At the touch of a button, the system automatically calculates the necessary changes to make to the stretcher bar to ensure no image distortion. Without this software, mounting an image to multiple tiled frames would take between two and four hours to calculate - but with the ap demark solution, this can be completed within minutes.

ap denmark was established in 2008, and has developed a strong customer base of EMEA digital printers. Given the immediacy of digital print, ap denmark places particular emphasis on its speed of delivery – offering a two day service to any country within Scandinavia and two to four days via courier to other worldwide locations. For the acoustic graphic applications, Norholm claims that the Dutch market has been the fastest adopter of the solution, with the rest of mainland Europe now growing rapidly.

Norholm said: “We partner with HP almost exclusively. Maximising the strength of HP products used together, our relationship with HP enables us to attend and participate at their events and trade exhibitions, and communicate the benefits and potential business opportunities of acoustic solutions.

“In Europe today, Sumopix is currently the only producer of this service, and has recently developed a stock image library to enable customers to choose from over five million images. This service has significantly streamlined the process of image selection and location, while also providing access to a huge database of stunning new images, and combined text and image opportunities.”

Together, the combination of HP technology and the expertise of ap denmark and Sumopix is enabling all parties to enjoy a significant and expanding revenue stream for a market that is welcoming the application’s benefits with open arms.

Mimaki announces new Dye-sublimation Direct-to-Textile Printer

Mimaki Tx400-1800D

Mimaki Engineering Co., Ltd announces its new ink cost saving dye-sublimation and direct-to-textile inkjet printer, Tx400-1800D for textile printing. The Tx400-1800D will be shipped in Europe from February 2010 onwards.

TX400-1800D employs an innovative feature that enables the user to adjust the ink volume that is jetted by the print head according to the type of cloth and design. This offers the possibility of printing different color depths to achieve amazing design effects.

In addition, according to the print job, Tx400-1800D can accommodate both direct-to-textile and dye-sublimation printing employing sublimation media. It ensures that the machine’s possibilities enable broader product portfolios and higher productivity at print service providers.

Three different inks, dye sublimation ink, reactive dye ink and acid dye ink are available. Environmental impact is lowered as the ink is delivered in 2l-ink containers, whose outer case is reusable. This is also reflected in substantially lower ink costs.

The newly developed dye-sublimation ink excels in low vapor emission. In comparison with the former ink service providers will thus be able to control more than before the impact of vapor on the media as well as see a significant enhancement in image quality and sharpness.

Mimaki has equipped the Tx400-1800D with its Bulk Ink System (MBIS) and its patented UISS (Uninterrupted Ink Supply System) to ensure automatic switching of inks when one 2l-ink container runs empty without interrupting printing. A maximum of four liters of ink (2x2l per color) enables unattended printing for longer periods and to ensure bigger print runs.

The Tx400-1800D for direct-to-textile as well as dye-sublimation printing thus combines modern technologies for textile applications that are the driving force behind the move from screen printing to on-demand digital textile printing.

An additional model within the Tx400 series, that will be shipped from spring ’10 onwards, will feature an adhesion belt carrier system to stabilize flexible materials that tend to stretch and contract during printing.

“Tx400-1800D is a revolutionary development in uniting dye sublimation and direct-to-textile printing in one machine thus offering an unlimited choice in applications. We are happy that we can offer such a business enhancing machine to our customers”, says Kazuhide Yokoyama from Mimaki’s TA Business Unit.

Canon reveals Star Buy LFP promotion

Canon iPF 8000s

The high-speed Canon iPF 8000S pictured above is available with a £1550 discount until December 18th 2009.


Large Format Printers (LFPs) are increasingly taking a central role in the commercial print environment, moving on from days of past when poster and proofing work was the preserve of the specialist print shop. Nowadays LFPs can integrate seamlessly with existing workflows to become a must have for a savvy printer, capable of producing a variety of applications, including posters, photo-book applications, point-of-sale, signage and displays.

With a low total cost of ownership it is reassuring to know that a LFP can be installed and running in your premises for as little as £1,500. While printers are looking for new revenue streams in order to ride out the current downturn, they are also finding that the more diverse their business is, the more chance they have of not only surviving the current dip but potentially even growing their client base. If printers are familiar with the workflows required to run digital presses, then an LFP should slot seamlessly into the existing set up.

For the next month, in the run up to Christmas, Canon is running a Star Buy promotion on its leading range of LFPs that can potentially save up to £1,550 on the purchase cost of each model. The devices included in this offer include the eight-colour 44” Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8000S and 12-colour imagePROGRAF iPF8100 for the sign and graphics markets, and the 17” imagePROGRAF iPF5100, 24” imagePROGRAF iPF6100 and iPF6200 models for the proofing and photographic/fine art markets.

Canon has not stood still since introducing its first LFPs and is continually refining and upgrading its product lines to improve quality and reduce output costs. This has led to a number of awards for print quality and reliability. In a series of benchmark tests through the world renowned Buyers’ Laboratory Inc (BLI) last year, the imagePROGRAF iPF8000S and imagePROGRAF iPF8100 both scored highly against its two market-leading competitors, namely the HP DesignJet Z6100 and Epson Stylus PRO 9880.

The independent report found the imagePROGRAF iPF8000S used 34.5% less ink than competitor products running under identical test conditions. Figures for Canon’s imagePROGRAF iPF8100 were equally as impressive, with the Canon using 31.6% less ink. In addition, the Canon iPF8000S can save an additional 8% of ink usage if switched into economy running mode.

The final tests from BLI, covering colour gamut volume, showed the iPF8000S had a larger colour volume when compared to HP DesignJet Z6100 and the Canon iPF8100, had a comparable colour gamut volume when measured against the Epson Stylus PRO 9880.

All printers are available from Canon accredited resellers and the promotion runs until 18th December.

Please call Canon on 01737 229 022 or visit http://www.canon.co.uk/large_format_review for more information on these devices and the Star Buy promotion.

Konica Minolta Launches New 72mm-Wide Inkjet Print Head for Industrial Use, Reducing Energy Consumption by 50%

Konica Minolta KM1024 Printhead

Konica Minolta IJ Technologies, Inc. have announced the introduction of their 72-mm wide KM1024 series inkjet print head for industrial use with 1024 nozzles in the middle of November. Compared with the conventional inkjet head, it greatly reduced the energy consumption, thus making it environmentally sound product.

The new KM1024 is cutting-edge piezo on-demand print head developed by Konica Minolta to meet industrial needs for higher printing quality. It is characterized by its 1,024 nozzles as well as its 72mm-wide print head, which means that it has twice the number of nozzles and is double the width of the KM512 series inkjet print head that has been chosen by many industrial customers. The characteristics of the new KM1024 print head make it an ideal choice for print systems that require higher productivity, such as single-pass inkjet printers.

By incorporating a newly developed lower capacitance actuators, KM1024 reduced power consumption by 50% compared with the conventional KM512, making it more environmentally sound. Another new technology is the development of IC, enabling printing in eight grayscale levels, and thus better satisfies the needs of customers for higher-resolution print images. In addition, the thin body of the print head enables simple and compact design of head mount systems when mounting a number of print heads into a printer. To cater to a wider range of industrial needs and for greater ink compatibility, the new print head is offered in two versions: with or without a heater.

Main features

  • Adoption of 1,024 nozzles and the 72mm-wide print head has resulted in a drastic increase in productivity.
  • The newly developed lower capacitance actuators reduce energy consumption by 50% compared with the per nozzle energy consumption of the KM512 series.
  • The new IC is capable of reproducing 360dpi x 360dpi images in maximum of eight grayscale levels, delivering rich color tones and high resolution.
  • The thin print head, which measures 131mm (W) x 18mm (D) x 89mm (H) and weighs only 140g, enables compact design of head mount systems and print system.
  • To better serve industrial needs, a print head with a heater is also available. Solvent, oil and UV inks can be used.

Konica Minolta’s inkjet business continues to offer to industrial inkjet printer users high-performance inkjet print heads, multi-functional inks, and related equipment and systems - all incorporating its proprietary material and precision processing technologies. With the introduction of the KM1024 series inkjet print head, Konica Minolta aims to broaden the applications of its industrial inkjet printer technology.

Mutoh Viper TX Soft Sign printer - a new opportunity?

Mutoh Viper TX


As keen industry watchers, here at LFR we've always been surprised at the apparent lack of interest here in the UK for fabric printing and soft signage - in other countries soft signage is a buoyant market sector, perhaps nowhere more so than Italy  - we are off to Viscom Milan later this week, and if that particular show runs true to form, every other stand featuring large format printers will have one of those printers producing directly onto fabrics.

Perhaps this latest soft signage printer from Mutoh will get a few more UK users thinking about the possibilities...


For volume producers of soft sign prints, Mutoh launched the Viper TX Soft Sign printers at Viscom Dusseldorf a few weeks ago - enabling direct printing onto soft sign polyester fabrics with open and closed structure.

Available in 64” (163 cm) and 88” (222 cm) widths, the Viper TX Soft Sign piezo inkjet printers are fit for a wide variety of applications : heavy duty flags, banners, architectural graphics, sport arena displays, wall murals, home furnishings, curtains and much more.

Offering a solid industrial design, the Viper TX Soft Sign printers enable a paperless workflow. The machines are equipped with an infrared dryer and fan bank as well as a fixation unit.

Including a heavy-duty media unwinding/winding system with front and back fabric stabilisation belt for media rolls up to 150 kg, the Viper TX Soft Sign printers offer typical production speeds up to 37 m²/h. The printers use environmentally friendly VOC free water based direct disperse inks.