Epson printers are proof that sustainability doesn’t have to be at the cost of performance.
from a Managed IT interview with Richard Wells, Head of Business Sales at Epson UK.
There is little doubt that the last 12 months have seen renewed focus on sustainability as everyone has become more aware not only of our vulnerability to natural forces and even our willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good.
Richard Wells, Head of Business Sales at Epson UK, says he is already seeing the effects of greater environmental awareness in the business world, where Epson has long advocated a more sustainable approach to office printing. As evidence, he cites more stringent energy-consumption requirements from a number of purchasing frameworks.
Heat-free printing This trend clearly plays to the strengths of Epson’s heat-free inkjet printing technology, which we has been promoted as an economical, low-energy alternative to laser printers.
Although laser printing is still the dominant technology in the office environment in terms of printers sold, when it comes to the number of pages printed the two technologies are approaching parity. That’s not just because pages in the home are predominantly printed on ink devices, or because at the other end of the scale a lot of the volume printers in marketing print are inkjet devices, inkjet is gaining market share in the centre, too, and expect to see quite a considerable shift over the next 12 months.
While the split is currently just under the 50:50 for total pages printed, within the next 2 to 3-year period, we think it will tip over and more pages will be printed on inkjet devices than on laser. People are making the switch for commercial reasons as much as for environmental ones, Epson devices are not just more sustainable but also economical and reliable – qualities that still trump sustainability, even if the latter has moved from the fifth most important buying criterion to third equal with security.
Customers do not want their printers to let them down. Because Epson use heat-free ink technology, as opposed to the thermal ink technology used by some manufacturers, the machine does not have to heat up anything in any part of the machine. This means the reliability of Epson parts, of which there are very few in our machines, is that much greater. Not only that the heat-free printing process enables Epson devices to be used in inhospitable environments without the risk of paper jams and misfeeds that can occur on laser machines when damp paper meets a hot fuser unit and curls more than it should.
Epson focus on the number of pages people print. In the UK, the average print job in any business is less than 4 pages, with two thirds of print jobs being just one page. It does not matter if your machine is 30, 40, 50 or even 200 pages per minute; what’s important is how long it takes for the first page to be printed. Every single machine, including the 100ppm device, prints its first page out in under 6 seconds. On the 25ppm machine, you would have to have a print job of 18 pages or more to notice any speed disadvantage against a laser printer.
Long-life consumables Another aspect of Epson printers that has an impact on their carbon footprint is the ink itself and especially how it is delivered – in large ink packs with page yields of up to 86,000 pages that, as well as producing up to 96% fewer used consumables than laser printers,
Continued improvement Tackling the broader impact of printing in such ways is important for Epson as it continues to reduce the environmental impact of its devices.
One of these is the recycling of paper through its PaperLab recycling system, which takes in used printer paper at one end and outputs clean A4 sheets for re-use at the other. It is currently working on scaling down the technology, potentially into devices not much larger than a copier, and within the next two or three years hopes to bring out a version that turns wastepaper into packaging material.