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The Epson PaperLab takes going green very seriously

By Bryan Chan & Ng Chong Seng - on 20 Sep 2016, 12:06pm

The Epson PaperLab takes going green very seriously

(Image source: Epson.)

A part of Epson’s new 'Epson 25' growth vision is to accelerate inkjet innovation, especially in the area of business printing. For smaller businesses looking for durability, reliability, and lower printing cost, this will continue to be largely taken care of by the company’s successful line of Micro Piezo and PrecisionCore printhead-equipped printers, especially with the likes of the L655/L605 and L1455 ink tank printers. And in the enterprise segment, Epson has high hopes for its Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) business printers, like the WorkForce Pro WF-R8591 that can print up to 75,000 pages in both black and color thanks to its high-volume ink packs.

At the same time, Epson, who is proud of building out its own core technologies, wants to do its part to reduce the environmental impact of its products. And one of the more innovative products to come out of this initiative is the PaperLab office papermaking system.

In development since 2011, and announced late last year, and with the intention to go on sale in Japan later this year, the PaperLab is in a nutshell the world’s first in-office paper recycler to use a dry process. Yup, you read that right: it’s a paper recycling device that can be used in the office.

One of the first steps of PaperLab’s papermaking (recycling) process is to securely destroy documents. The PaperLab doesn’t just shred them, it defibrates them, essentially breaking them down into fibers so that the information on them can’t be recovered. The fibers then go through a binding process to increase their strength and whiteness, before being pressure-formed into new paper. According to Epson, PaperLab is able to produce a new sheet of paper in about three minutes, with a top speed of 14 A4 sheets per minute, or 6,720 sheets in an eight-hour day. It can make a variety of types of paper, from A4 and A3 office paper of various thickness to paper for business cards, color paper, and even scented paper.

While the first PaperLab is unlikely to be adopted by small businesses, Epson hopes that in time to come, it can improve the technology to a point where the PaperLab device can be compact enough to be placed beside any Epson inkjet printer.