IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Epson Ships Entry-Level CAD Desktop Printers

The two compact, affordable additions to the manufacturer’s T-Series of wide-format technical printers represent a cross-selling opportunity for resellers of Epson’s business inkjet products. By Rich Freeman

Epson America Inc. has added two entry-level models to its SureColor T-Series line of wide-format color technical printers.

Targeted chiefly at architects, engineers, and construction firms, the new SureColor T3170 and T5170 are designed to meet rising demand among such users for intuitive, affordable CAD desktop alternatives to existing T-Series models with multi-thousand-dollar price tags.

“They just want to print blueprints and line drawings and maps,” says Matt Kochanowski, a product manager for professional imaging at Long Beach, Calif.-based Epson. “They don’t need all these additional features and additional add-ons.”

The T3170 is a 24-inch unit with an optional stand and $995 MSRP. The T5170 is a 36-inch model that includes a stand and has a $2,395 MSRP. Its expected street price, however, is $1,995.

According to Kochanowski, the two products fill a gap at the low end of Epson’s technical print lineup.

“We haven’t been able to compete with some of our competition who have had some of these lower price point products,” he says, pointing in particular to HP Inc.’s DesignJet T120, a compact wide-format printer priced under $1,000.

“HP’s really been selling a lot of these into this market,” Kochanowski says, adding that Epson’s two answers to that product are faster.

“With the SureColor T3170, we can print an A1 or D-size prints in as fast as 34 seconds,” he says, versus 45 seconds for the HP unit. The T5170, meanwhile, can produce D-size prints, which measure 22” x 34”, in just under 31 seconds.

In a first for Epson, both new T-Series printers come with integrated Wi-Fi. “The only cable connection that you’re going to need to set up this machine is a power cable,” Kochanowski says, noting that their wireless connectivity makes the new products highly portable too.

Users can print on both units via a direct Wi-Fi connection as well, by-passing the local network. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible to take your prints from your smartphone or from your tablet and print directly to a wide-format printer,” Kochanowski says. “There’s no special drivers necessary to install. There’s no special apps necessary to install,” he adds. “You can simply pull up a PDF [and] hit the print button.”

Both new printers are also designed to meet the aesthetic standards of creative professionals who demand functional products that look good too.

“We actually worked with one of the leading industrial design schools in the world and we had them design a concept of a printer that would fit the needs of these engineers and architects,” Kochanowski says.

Those needs include efficient, space-saving footprints, he continues. “We really wanted to design this machine to be a very, very small, compact design that they can put anywhere within their office, anywhere on their desk, or even at home as well,” Kochanowski says.

The new printers also feature flat tops that further conserve desk space by serving as temporary work surfaces. “After a print comes out of the machine, the customer can put it right on top of the printer,” Kochanowski notes.

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