In late May, Epson announced the addition of two new devices to their WorkForce C8000 Series, the WorkForce Pro WF-C8690 multifunction device and the single-function WF-C8190. The pair of A3 devices are powered by Epson’s PrecisionCore inkjet printing technology and are designed by Epson to offer a cost-effective alternative to color laser. The devices deliver 24 ppm and a maximum paper capacity of 1,830 pages, and integrate with solutions including Nuance Equitrac, eCopy ShareScan and nndPrint.

Scott Marsic, product manager with Epson Business Inkjet, explained that the new products represent two refreshes: the C-8690 replaces the 8590 MFP, while the C-8190 replaces the 8090 single-function A3 (the “C” for color as well as “M” for monochrome is a new addition to Epson’s nomenclature that will be reflected throughout the product lines). It is part of Epson’s commercial line, available only to authorized dealers and partners. The 24-ppm print speeds on the new devices are the same as their predecessors, but the newest additions offer very fast first print times. “There’s no warmup time,” said Marsic. “You hit print, and you’re getting your pages coming out right away.” This can be beneficial in print environments where low-volume jobs are frequently printed, especially compared to laser models that have to warm up every time a job is sent. Additionally, the WF-C8690 received a major upgrade in the scanner department, namely significantly faster duplex scanning speeds. At 45 ipm, the WF-C8690 is 80 percent faster than its predecessors.

The devices use the same ink as their predecessors, but now offer larger yields. The most noticeable change in yield was in the largest offering, the XXL, which increased from 10,000 pages to 11,500. Color yields have been increased from 7,000 pages to 8,000 and improvements in technology optimize the way they place ink on the page.

One of the more interesting technologies Marsic explained was Epson’s nozzle verification technology, first introduced in Epson’s commercial printers last year and has trickled down through the product lines. The technology allows the WF-C8190 and WF-C8690 to automatically monitor each individual nozzle on their printheads along with the ink placement on the page. The device can detect when a single nozzle becomes clogged and can automatically adjust the ink placement of a nearby nozzle to compensate, which enables the delivery of consistent color and print quality.

The latest devices will sport an updated user interface. Hard key buttons have been integrated into a 5-inch LCD color touchscreen display, to provide users with a more modern user experience. “It’s consistent in terms of look and feel with what you see on the other devices, including our enterprise-class and replaceable ink pack system printers,” said Marsic.

Our take

Even with some major upgrades, the WF-C8690 and WF-C8190 are priced the same as their predecessors. With their large maximum paper capacities and long-lasting consumables, the WF-C8690 and WF-8190 are built to provide customers with the low intervention, “set-it-and-forget-it” printing experience Epson aims for. The 80 percent increase in duplex scanning speeds will be welcomed by organizations seeking the all-important “digital transformation,” near-zero first page out times and the consistent and high-quality output promised by PrecisionCore technology serve the needs of those who still print, and integration with third-party and Epson-developed productivity software will help keep information and processes flowing seamlessly.

Epson is playing the long game with its inkjet technology, slowly and continuously rolling out and refreshing its line of commercial products targeted at replacing laser in a number of industries. For example, one of the upgrades Marsic noted on both devices was increased throughput handling. Capable of feeding much heavier paper stock than their predecessors, the devices will serve customers in the architecture, construction, engineering and marketing — industries that need to print on heavier stock at higher volumes. Although the 24-ppm speed is not going to entice truly high-volume clients, the midrange A3s should fill a niche in smaller workgroups where speed is not critical, providing a low-cost color alternative. Like their predecessors, the C-8690 and 8190 will likely do well in MPS environments, with low operating costs and less service intervention and waste. The MSRP has not changed from the predecessors, and the devices should offer a value proposition of interest to both dealers and customers. We’ve been watching Epson with interest over the last few years as it makes its play for the business inkjet space, and with this refresh, we continue to do so.

is editorial director of BPO Media’s publications Workflow and The Imaging Channel, and senior analyst for BPO Research. As a professional writer and editor, she has specialized in the office technology industry for the last 20 years. Prior to that she worked in public relations and has a master's degree in communication arts.