Today, the Micro Piezo printhead is even implemented on its latest commercial label press system.

Championing Micro Piezo

For those not familiar with printer technologies, there are currently two main inkjet systems in the market. The thermal inkjet technology uses heat to vaporize ink and fire it through the printhead nozzles, and is employed by brands like Canon and HP. Then there is Epson's Micro Piezo technology, which utilizes mechanical pressure generated by a piezoelectric element when an electric current is applied.

Developed and championed back in 1990 by Epson's current president, Minoru Usui, the first printer to use the Micro Piezo printhead was the Epson Stylus 800, which made it to retail in 1993.

According to the Japanese firm, the Micro Piezo system produces more precise ink droplets, resulting in sharper and smoother prints. A lower operating temperature is said to enable the printers to run cooler, resulting in a longer lifespan and compatibility with a wider range of inks, including dyes and pigments.

But perhaps the technology's stronger contribution to the printer industry was that it was the first commercially developed synthetic colorant, opening the way for the production of many other synthetic colorants. To celebrate this 20-year milestone, Epson unveiled a host of new inkboxes, all bearing piezoelectric-based printheads, naturally.

The new printers

Both printer offerings are targeted at the Asean market. The Stylus Photo TX720WD All-In-One (AIO) adds to the firm's photo AIO lineup for consumers, sporting a six-color ink system, 5,760 x 1,440 printing resolution, duplex printing and onboard Wi-Fi connectivity.

Also announced was the top-of-the-line Stylus Pro 4900, which caters to the professional graphics crowd. Epson claims the combination of the Micro Piezo TFP printhead and UltraChrome HDR pigment inks on the A2+ printer will enable printouts to achieve 98 percent of the Pantone color gamut.


On display as well were the recently launched ME Office series AIOs (620F, 900WD and 960FWD). These multifunctional All-in-Ones are aimed at the corporate workplace with their onboard Wi-Fi/Ethernet connectivity, duplex printing, front-loading high-capacity paper trays and claimed low-cost prints (using the extra high-capacity ink cartridge).

The media also got a preview of the SurePress L-4033A, Epson's first commercial label press system to come with the Micro Piezo technology. While the company touts it as a cost-efficient, short-run digital label press machine, the company clearly hopes to use this as a platform to showcase the scalability and reliability of its printhead technology.

Epson said the new printers would be available immediately in stores, except for the SurePress L-4033A which will be rolled out gradually across the Asean region in 2011.