How better to achieve our many environmental objectives than through innovation and technology? The Ricoh Group invests in researching new manufacturing products and practices that not only reduce our ecological impact but help our customers do the same. This is in line with the Ricoh Product Lifecycle where each stage promotes environmental effectiveness. Innovation is at work through our technologies; learn more about them below.
In 2007 we launched the first energy-saving printers that use our GELJET technology, including the Aficio GX 2500. These highly efficient printers have a maximum energy consumption of less than 35 watts per hour, equivalent to that of a fluorescent light. While these printers conserve energy, they also cut customer energy costs.
GELJET ink is pigment-based with a high viscosity and high penetration, enabling high-speed duplex printing on plain paper with a picture quality equal to that of laser printers.
Quick Start-Up Technology
QSU (Quick Start-Up) is our original energy saving technology, developed to achieve effective power conservation for our copiers. Energy is consumed when a printer is turned on at full power, even if it is not in use. QSU enables a quick recovery from energy-saving mode.
The fusing roller that fixes the toner on the paper was thinned as much as possible to shorten the temperature rise time. The temperature of the roller is effectively controlled by using twin heaters. Low-temperature fixing toner is also adopted.
HYBRID QSU Technology
This technology incorporates capacitors (electric storage devices) into QSU technology to store electricity during standby so that it can be used for restarting and printing. This technology is incorporated into high-speed copiers.
Colour QSU Technology
This technology adopts Induction Heating (IH) using a magnetic field to heat the fusing belt directly and quickly. This enables colour copiers to both be user-friendly and highly efficient.
Since launch, QSU has been a success:
In 2001 we launched the first QSU multi-functional monochrome copiers, receiving the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Prize, the highest energy-saving award in Japan.
Following that, we introduced HYBRID QSU, an integration of traditional QSU and capacitors (electric storage devices). This stores electricity to be used in sequential power ups.
By 2006 we developed Colour QSU technology, which adopts the Induction Heating system, reducing recovery time for multi-functional colour copiers.
QSU enabled us to produce the first model of its type with a 10 second recovery time from standby.
The line up of QSU-equipped products now ranges from low-speed monochrome copiers to high-speed copiers.
At the end of 2007, we launched the Aficio MP C7500/C6000 series in Japan featuring the new colour PxP toner.
This polymerised toner is made from newly developed polyester resin, designed to fuse at a lower temperature (20°C) than its predecessor while also achieving a higher picture quality with fine and uniform particles.
The lower fusing temperature needs less energy and production of this new toner also allows higher recyclability of wastewater and solvents.
Our policy is to create products with minimal environmental impact throughout their lifecycles and the PxP toner is no exception. Produced by chemical polymerisation rather than by crushing carbon, the manufacturing process uses 30% less energy.
We continuously develop unique technologies to help our customers reduce paper consumption, directly affecting not only ecological impact but also material costs.
Non-Stacking Duplex Unit – this enables double sided copying or printing without loss of productivity; your copier uses less power by operating no longer than necessary.
Scan and fax to e-mail have been introduced so that hard copies become unnecessary; all data can be moved around electronically.
We introduced simultaneous double sided scanning on our document feeders, with the following in-office benefits:
Reduced maintenance requirement
Original jams almost eliminated
Less noise and less time to complete work
Paper waste from web prints, e-mail histories, and prints made with faulty configurations or the wrong paper selection has reached an unprecedented level. These can all be easily overcome by user training and setting defaults on copying and print drivers. Our environmental consultancy demonstrates these simple paper and money saving activities in addition to providing a complete printer fleet audit.
Plant Based Plastics
Much of our environmental impact came from the procurement and manufacture of raw parts. To improve this, in 2002 we started developing plant-based plastics for use in our copiers. These plastics are recyclable and contribute less to global warming than the petroleum-based counterpart.
Three years later we rolled out the industry’s first plant-based multi-functional digital copier, of which 50% of the main unit was made from plant-based materials. We intend to raise this ratio and we are endeavouring to use these plastics in other areas, such as a plant-based toner.
We are also endeavouring to explore a plant resource use that does not compete with sustenance needs.