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Concept: Toshiba’s Erasable Toner Copier

For many years (decades?) we’ve heard about the paperless office, but more and more it appears that technology is driving use to use MORE paper. In an attempt to green up the printer/copier, Toshiba TEC  is working on reducing paper use or at least being able to recycle more paper. No special paper is required, and the special toner loses it’s color when heated so that it can be reused.  While the ink disappears, the printing process does leave an imprint on the “clean” paper.

There’s obviously some drawbacks, such as the imprint for security reasons or not being able to leave the papers in a hot places like the dashboard of a car on a hot day, but it is still only early technology.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Julie March 17, 2012, 10:05 am

    That’s a great idea! We waste so much paper at my day job. Yes, we recycle, but still…

  • p51d007 March 17, 2012, 11:08 am

    Maybe they have it figured out this time, but the industry has tried this several times.
    I’ve been in the photocopier business for over 30 years. The problem with “recycling” paper comes from the xerographic process itself. When paper passes through a machine, an electrostatic charge is applied to the back of the paper. This transfers the toner to the paper, and a very small amount remains to hold it on the paper as it passes the fuser. The fuser uses heat & pressure to press the toner into the paper fibers. I’m guessing that this new idea doesn’t use as much pressure.
    What happens when you recycle the paper is that the paper fibers have been disturbed, and lose the ability to retain the toner & to have it pressed into the fiber correctly. Granted, if you are only copying plain text, you may not notice the quality drop, but it is there.
    The only real market I would see this would be for a school where they make hand out copies to students, who use them once and discard. The other problem is that although the print is “erased”, if you hold it to the light, you can see a latent image of what was printed, making this useless in a “secure” type environment.
    It’s a nice idea, but I hope they get the bugs worked out before they release it…I have worked with Toshiba machines for the last 21 years and don’t relish the headaches if this still has glitches ;)

  • Seth March 17, 2012, 9:13 pm

    It looks like a great idea for day to day printed materials. I would still use a normal (paper wasting) printer for any documents that are required for legal purposes or for archiving.

  • p51d007 March 17, 2012, 9:42 pm

    We’ve noticed an uptick in the last couple of years of scan to file & archive. Output documents to PDF, archive them and it’s much easier to keep track of. Also a heck of a lot easier to index & find what you are looking for.

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