IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Epson Launches Workgroup Printers and Remote Fleet Management Solution

The new color MFPs are designed to offer the lowest total printing costs and energy consumption in their class. The new management system is designed to help partners save money by performing maintenance tasks and collecting usage data remotely. By Rich Freeman

Epson America has shipped two new color multifunction A3 printers for large workgroups and a cloud-based print fleet management tool.

The new MFPs, dubbed the WorkForce Pro WF-C879R and WF-C878R, supplant the earlier WorkForce Pro WF-C869R, but feature a smaller footprint that’s roughly 8 inches narrower. 

The WF-C879R also provides a print speed improvement over its predecessor, generating 26 mono ISO pages and 25 color images per minute, as well as a scanning speed improvement to as much as 100 duplex pages per minute. It comes with a 150-page automatic document feeder, versus the WF-C869R’s 50-page ADF, plus a built-in hard disk drive, dual Ethernet ports, and a manual stapler.

The WF-C878R prints at a slightly slower 25 black ISO and 24 ISO color pages per minute, and scans up to 45 images per minute duplex.

Equipped with Epson’s replaceable ink pack system, the two units can produce up to 86,000 mono ISO pages and up to 50,000 color ones before requiring fresh toner. Media handling capabilities include automatic duplexing and automatic media size detection, and both products integrate out of the box with Kofax Equitrac, Kofax eCopy, PaperCut, and other web-based print applications. They also feature 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity. 

According to Epson, the two products offer the lowest total printing costs and the lowest energy consumption among color laser and inkjet MFPs with speeds of 35 pages per minute or less.

Both the WF-C879R and WF-C878R will be available through Epson BusinessFirst resellers by the end of the month. Pricing has yet to be announced, but will include a one-year limited warranty.

The new fleet management system, which is called Epson Remote Services, is designed to help partners improve operational efficiency by performing maintenance tasks and collecting consumption data over the internet rather than onsite.

“It’s really designed to help our partner who has servicing capability to be able to provide service easier, faster, and quicker,” says Dennis Fan, product manager for business imaging at Epson.

Provided to BusinessFirst partners free of charge, the system includes functionality for checking printer status, seeing how much ink remains in each unit, viewing device configuration settings, rebooting devices, and cleaning printheads, as well as registering multiple networked printers simultaneously. The application’s pre-scheduled weekly, monthly, and quarterly usage reports are designed to make implementing metered billing schemes more cost effective as well.

In addition, Fan says, preventive maintenance alerts can help dealers reduce downtime for their customers. Users can escalate issues they fail to resolve themselves to Epson and share remote diagnostics with the vendor’s support technicians.

The solution is currently compatible with 37 Epson business and consumer inkjet printers. According to Fan, Epson plans to equip the system with additional capabilities in the future. “It lays the foundation and infrastructure for the future services to come,” he says.

Epson shipped its first desktop A3 scanners two weeks ago.

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