Refillable Printer Ink Tanks - Epson To Revolutionize Home Printing

The more than 50 million inkjet cartridges which UK households go through yearly could soon become history if the new ink tanks unveiled by Epson, and which the printing giants claim will revolutionize home printing economics, are anything to go by.

 

Until now, manufacturers like Canon and Epson have been selling home printers at prices that are significantly below the cost price. To make some profit, these companies have been relying on the expensive branded ink cartridges that they produce. However, Epson has decided to come up with printers that have refillable tanks which will last an average user two years. This is for a house that prints 200 pages every month.

 

And the new Epson inkjet printers are set to be priced in such a way that they are profitable. Instead of the street price which normally ranges between $113 and $129, the Epson inkjet printers will retail at just over $400.

 

Despite the high price for the inkjet printers, the firm maintains that users will save 60-65% by using a printer with refillable tank than if they were to buy cartridges. Also, users will be free to refill the tank using non-branded printing ink as soon as it runs out. It is expected that the tank will add roughly a quarter the printer size.

 

This move by Epson comes in the wake of consumer backlash that saw households resort to purchasing cheaper generic cartridges. Also, there were declining sales as users decided to share images on the social media channels instead of printing them. Lexmark stopped the home printer market in 2012, and it was quickly followed by Kodak.

 

According to Printzone, the reason was heavy losses. Seiko Epson sales, based in the Japanese town of Nagano, dropped by 25% between the years 2009 and 2013. However, they did recover a bit in 2014. After recording losses in the 3 of the previous 5 years, the company moved back to profitability in March of this year (2014).

 

Epson, HP and Canon account for over 90% of worldwide sales of the inkjet printers. Last year alone, 2.6 million units of inkjet printers were sold in Britain.

 

Lately, users have switched to other means of using and sharing images, something that has occasioned the decline of the home printer market.

 

Rather than print photos at home through expensive paper and ink, many users are increasingly sharing images on Instagram and Facebook. At the same time, print-at-home tickets for items like cinema entry and airline boarding are being replaced rapidly by tablet and smartphone apps.

 

Also, households are being discouraged by rising prices of ink, and many of them are resorting to cheaper generics. According to an investigation carried out by the Guardian Newspaper last year (2013) on branded Inkjet cartridges, manufacturers have systematically reduced the quantity of ink in the cartridge, the aim being to make consumers to purchase more.

 

The research established that there are some color cartridges that came with even just 2ml of ink. Also, the new printers are fitted with encrypted chip technology meant to ensure that consumers only buy branded cartridges. The companies have even been accused of applying aggressive marketing strategies aimed at discouraging consumers from refilling their cartridges with cheaper ink makers.

 

Main manufacturers especially HP, Canon and Epson are pitted in a bitter war with remanufacturers who are accused of refilling cartridges and then selling at reduced prices. Already, a third of the UK sales have been grabbed by the remanufacturers. Another problem is that there are counterfeit cartridges that are getting into the British market from China.

 

According to Epson, households- usually heavy consumers of cartridge inks- are set to make significant savings by quitting their printers and opting for the type that has a tank.

 

However, households that usually have high printing needs may also want to try switching to the laser printers. Although pricier to buy, their per-page costs of printing are significantly lower.

 

But Epson says that the new tank models are not meant to replace the cartridge models, and it will continue to manufacture them.


Simon Hanley, the product manager, said:

These products complement our line of existing products and are perfect for small office and home consumers who are interested in printing everyday documents like homework, recipes, maps and emails, and for whom convenience and price play an important role. Given that 2 years’ worth of ink is included, consumers know exactly where they stand.”

 

Epson said in its annual report for 2014 that the demand for inkjet printers in Japan and North America contracted but in Europe, it drifted sideways.

 

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