Aqueous Inkjet Technology

Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 – World's first aqueous inkjet proof printer with white ink

Developers talk about the development of the new Epson Pro WT7900

A new era for the Stylus Pro series
Breakthrough innovation delivers both offset and package proofs.

LFP Planning & Design Department
Yasuhiko Uchida, Manager

What factors brought about the development of Epson Stylus Pro WT7900?

Epson customers understand the precise reproduction capabilities of our printers, and have widely accepted the Stylus Pro series as a pre-press proofer. So we merely took advantage of our existing market position to enter the package proofing field with Epson Stylus Pro 7900/9900.

This ten-color printer included orange and green inks, which are great for reproducing the vivid spot colors widely used in P.O.S and packaging. However, since our customers wanted a system that could simulate flexible packaging, the printer had to be able to print on transparent film. This requires white ink. So we had to not only develop a new printer, but also white ink and media that would satisfy customer requirements. Enter the Epson Stylus Pro WT7900.

We figured some people might be hesitant to move to the new system due to the lack of K3 ink (three black inks). However, as regards package proofing, the precise tonal capability of K3 ink is less important than the need for vivid spot colors.

How is package proofing done today?

Standard press proofs and DDCP dominate the package proofing field. However, press proofs are neither time- nor cost-effective, and are quite expensive since you have to stop the press every time you make a proof. On the other hand, DDCP systems are too big and incur a high TCO. In addition, both of these are hardly ever found in design agencies or design departments, despite their obvious need.

What are the advantages of Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 as a package proofing system?

I think there are three major advantages.

One is that both the initial and operating costs are very affordable. In particular, the running cost is approximately half that of a DDCP system.

The second advantage is that it allows you to automate the speed and proofing work flow. DDCP systems cannot be operated automatically and require special technical know-how. The WT7900, on the other hand, works like a standard inkjet printer so no special skills are needed to obtain beautiful proofs.

The third advantage is that our system is easy to maintain and can be used in any working environment. White inks made from solvents or UV curable materials are smelly and require special disposal, making them unsuited to offices. However, our printer uses water-based white ink, which doesn’t smell and is very easy to handle. You can install the WT7900 in any office without the need for a special ventilation system.

Nowadays, customers are clamoring for printing systems without organic ink and that go easy on the environment. The WT7900 matches both these requirements perfectly. Additionally, we are collaborating with a RIP software vendor that has a strong presence in the package proofing field in order to make the system more attractive to professionals.

What uses are there for the Epson Stylus Pro WT7900?

Along with printing companies dealing with gravure printing, flexography and screen printing, we strongly feel the WT7900 will be ideal for design agencies as well as food and beverage companies with in-house design departments.

In our marketing studies, we found that 70 percent of flexible packages are food packages. Also, package designs for new food products are highly classified because the company will be relying on package design more than mass advertising to sell the products, which typically have a short lifespan. If food manufacturers can proof in-house, there is less chance of information leakage and faster turnaround. This makes the WT7900 an excellent solution, thanks to its small-office capability and fast drying times.

This printer is really great for any company, big or small. Design departments and smaller firms can now concentrate on creative work without wasting time proofing, while larger printing companies can now offer clients an alternative proofing solution that is both fast and affordable. A win-win situation all around!

Click here to see a demonstration of the Epson Stylus Pro WT7900.

LFP Planning & Design Department
Yasuhiko Uchida, Manager
Features for inkjet printer with white ink
Solvent inkjet printer
Solvent ink needs special drying equipment, usually a heater. They are also smelly and hard to handle.
UV-curable inkjet printer

UV ink is cured by exposure to strong UV-light after printing, and can be applied to a wide range of media. However, the ink is smelly and it precipitates rapidly.
Aqueous inkjet printer
Output can be handled soon after printing since ink penetrates quickly into the media and dries fast. Aqueous ink is comparatively odor-free and easy to handle.