Winning the Manufacturing Market
Fuji Xerox became actively engaged in the business of copy machines for large-sized drawings, namely engineering micrographics (EMs), starting in the latter half of the 1960s. The story behind the development of the 2080 (a generator of big revenue) is revealed here.
A Struggle for Expanding its Business
After being founded, Fuji Xerox was importing copy machines for large-sized drawings as well as microsystems for offices to sell to major manufacturers and the financial/insurance industries. Even though copy machines for large-sized drawings were also produced domestically, the company still relied on Xerox Corporation for product development. Since around 1970, Fuji Xerox consequently suspended any new product development. With a number of major corporations as customers and with all new products to compete, Fuji Xerox faced a major challenge in how to reorganize new product development in this field.
Development of the 2080
Under such circumstances, Fuji Xerox launched its full-scale independent development project for the 2080 in the field of copy machines for large-sized drawings, so as to deal with potential repurchase demand in the market. Although the developmental team only consisted of 16 members, they set a high goal. Back then, typical copy machines could not copy any document larger than A2, and thus could not meet market demands in such industries as machinery, architecture, and vehicles. Therefore, the developmental team aimed at then-groundbreaking specifications to serve the needs of professionals mainly in the manufacturing field as follows:
- Capable of copying up to A0-size originals (with A1-size output in that case)
- Capable of stepless enlargement/reduction from 45 to 141%
- Non-fusing copy function useful for partial modification
- Fine-tuning of magnification to enhance dimensional reproducibility
- Compatible with both cut and roll paper
Although the performance targets they set appeared to be almost impossible, by cooperating with related companies and improving the development system, the development team succeeded in achieving all performance targets including the development of zoom lenses that enabled stepless enlargement and reduction, and eventually completed the 2080 in 1978. At the event announcing the product's release in April 1978, customers and news media that flocked to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo were all impressed by the high performance of the Fuji Xerox 2080. One industrial journal even reported the news saying: "There is no need to have another company's product if you have the 2080."
Equipped with functions for compilation design and drawing release as expected by the market, the 2080 largely contributed to Fuji Xerox's revenue. The product was exported overseas as well, thereby achieving another huge success. As Xerox Corporation had already withdrawn from the system device market at an early stage, the high performance of the 2080 prompted the Xerox Group to sell products made by Fuji Xerox in the US and Europe later on. In this way, Fuji Xerox gradually began to assume leadership in supplying products in this field.