Tohoku Epson to Begin Construction on a ¥5.1-Billion Inkjet Printhead Production Plant

- Epson invests to quadruple future printhead production capacity -

- TOKYO, Japan, June 12, 2024 -

Tohoku Epson Corporation, a Group company of Seiko Epson Corporation (TSE: 6724, "Epson"), will invest approximately 5.1-billion yen on the construction of a new factory for inkjet printheads.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held today for the new factory, which will be built on the premises of Tohoku Epson. Construction is scheduled to start on June 15, 2024, and completion in September 2025. The investment in the new facility is projected to approximately quadruple Tohoku Epson's current printhead production capacity.

Image of the new factory at Tohoku Epson

Epson's printing solutions business provides products and services based on original Micro Piezo inkjet technology to customers in the office, home, commercial and industrial markets. The company expects to see sustained global demand for inkjet printers based on current growth in high-speed units for the office and on continued demand for high-capacity ink tank printers for the home and office in emerging markets and North America.

Demand for commercial and industrial inkjet printers is increasing along with a technology shift from analog to digital in sectors where the printing media is not paper, such as digital textile printing. Moreover, many commercial and industrial inkjet printers use PrecisionCore MicroTFP printheads* ("PrecisionCore printheads"). These printheads can be flexibly adapted for different applications by assembling MicroTFP print chips in various combinations.

Epson expects further growth in the use of PrecisionCore printheads in commercial and industrial printers as well as in inkjet multifunction printers with high-speed lineheads.

Epson is strengthening its printhead sales business to accelerate inkjet innovation and expand the applications for digital printing, which has a far lower environmental impact than conventional printing. With an ever expanding range of printing applications as well as emerging needs in areas such as electronics and bioprinting. Epson is looking to collaborate with partners with new ideas and technologies. Through such open innovation, we are seeking to expand the possibilities of PrecisionCore technology.

Tohoku Epson began manufacturing printheads (CHIPS heads) in 1995 and launched volume production of PrecisionCore printheads in June 2013 on a fully automated assembly line that makes extensive use of Epson robots. It has been accumulating expertise in printhead production and building a solid base of production technology, increasing its competitive advantage as a domestic production site.

Seiko Epson's Hirooka Office, in Nagano Prefecture, handles front-end processing of micro-TFP print chips. Plans call for production of these chips to increase over the next three years. The new Tohoku Epson factory will accommodate this increase and, together with Akita Epson Building No. 10, construction on which was completed in December 2023, will expand domestic back-end process production capacity.

To ensure stable production, each of the two sites in the Tohoku region will be allocated responsibility for different models, but to ensure business continuity, both sites will be able to flexibly adapt to production fluctuations with production lines for the most popular models and with shared lines. This will enable the company to strengthen its product lineup in response to future demand for inkjet printers equipped with PrecisionCore printheads.

The new factory building will employ a newly engineered process that will save manpower and space, with minimizing in-process inventory, automated transfer robots, and efficient layout reducing the workload on personnel. We will respond to the challenges faced by the manufacturing industry, and realize a factory of the future that is both more efficient and easier to work in.

This is the first new building at Tohoku Epson since the construction of a semiconductor fabrication facility in 1997. To limit noise and ensure safety in the vicinity of the site, the company will shorten the construction period by pouring the concrete floor in winter instead of stopping work. As a corporate citizen rooted in the local community, Tohoku Epson aims to have this factory contribute to the development and harmony of the local community.

  • * PrecisionCore MicroTFP printheads are critical components that determine the image quality and speed of an inkjet printer. Equipped with an array of individually controlled nozzles, they can eject 50,000 tiny ink droplets per second, with droplet sizes as small as several picoliters (a picoliter is one trillionth of a liter).

Please see the links below for further details about Micro Piezo inkjet technology and PrecisionCore printheads.

Micro Piezo Technology

Micro Piezo printhead manufacturing technology

Profile of the New Tohoku Epson factory

Location 166-3 Jurizuka, Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
Business operations Manufacture and assembly of printheads for inkjet printers
(printheads for office & home, commercial & industrial printers)
Factory floor area 5,500m²(two-story steel-frame construction)
Total floor space 11,191m²
Investment Approx. 5.1 billion yen (plant and equipment, excluding property)
Start of Construction June 15, 2024
Start of Operation September 2025
New Employees 70 (Fiscal 2025 forecast)

Tohoku Epson corporate profile (as of April 1, 2024)

Company name Tohoku Epson Corporation
Established January 18, 1985
Location 166-3 Jurizuka, Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
President Manabu Saito
Share capital 100 million yen (Tohoku Epson is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation)
Employees 2,130
Business operations Manufacture of semiconductors and printer components
Lot area 540,000m²

About Epson
Epson is a global technology leader whose philosophy of efficient, compact and precise innovation enriches lives and helps create a better world. The company is focused on solving societal issues through innovations in home and office printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing, visual and lifestyle. Epson's goal is to become carbon negative and eliminate use of exhaustible underground resources such as oil and metal by 2050.
Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the worldwide Epson Group generates annual sales of more than JPY 1 trillion.