Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation has announced that it will be moving into 3D printing as part of its Vision 2025 Strategy to make sales revenue to grow by 50% from 2016. It was also announced that Epson’s robotics, AR, and AI businesses would be expanding.
The company, well known for its 2D printers, has previously hinted at medium to long term ambitions to expand into 3D printing. However, 3D printing were only confirmed last week in Epson president Minori Usui’s announcement at the 35 year anniversary of Epson Singapore.
A medium term strategy
In 2014, Epson President Minoru Usui stated that the company was looking at expanding into 3D printing, but emphasised that the focus would be on large-scale and industrial 3D printing, noting that “not many people need to print a plastic figure.”
Usui also asserted that “when it comes to 3D printing… we want our machines to make anything,” hinting at a more nuanced strategy for moving into the additive manufacturing sector.
Earlier this year, a report on published on Epson Europe’s website argued that according to internal company research, 3D printing was integral to “the factory of the future.” The report cited advantages including “customised manufacturing,” together with “shorter supply chains” and “local advantages” as part of its case for “disruptive” 3D printing.
Investment in R&D
Days prior to Usui’s Singapore address, it was also announced that Epson would be investing approximately 16 billion Yen ($140.3 million) into a new “Innovation Centre B” at its Hirooka Office in Japan.
The centre would include “factory for prototyping and volume-producing large commercial and industrial printing systems” and a “test laboratory for digital textile printing”, with the aim of growing its “printing solutions business” in response to “the expansion of key markets.”
3D printing as part of a ten year plan
Epson’s target revenue for 2025 is 1.7 trillion Yen ($14.9 billion), a 50% increase on the revenue from 2016. Speaking at the event, Usui affirmed Epson’s corporate vision for 2025, “to create a new age of connected people, things and information with efficient, compact and precision technologies for sustainable growth.”
Usui also affirmed Epson’s focus on industrial 3D printing, stating that “one of our goals for digital printing technology is the ability to print any materials…we are working on 3D printing that can work on a variety of printing material with high accuracy and productivity.”
While extensive details about the printer have yet to be released, it was announced that Epson’s planned 3D printer would have printing speeds of up to 200 ppm.
Among the product announcements for Epson’s AR technologies were the BT-350 and BT-2200 Moverio smart glasses.
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Featured image shows Render of Epson’s new Hirooka Plant. Image via Epson.