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 user 2007-09-18 at 2:15:00 pm Views: 31
  • #18774

    How Green is Your Toner?
    , 2007 All this year major printing equipment manufacturers have been
    quietly telling anyone who’d listen about how “green” they are. Some of
    this is hype, some real, but it’s good to see these companies paying
    attention. We all know that as a manufacturing process, printing (never
    mind making the necessary paper) can be less than environmentally
    friendly, and in a time when the environment is (finally) getting some
    of the attention it deserves, equipment vendors are being vocal about
    what they are doing.

    Xerox, for example, cut the ribbon
    yesterday on a 5-story, 100,000 square-foot, $60 million facility in
    Webster, NY, dedicated solely to the manufacture of its EA (Emulsion
    Aggregation) toner. This internally developed product is “grown,” which
    allows precise control of the shape and size of toner particles, as
    compared to the traditional process of grinding composite polymers into
    randomly jagged shapes. (Picture pea stone versus gravel.)The new
    process uses 25-35% less energy per pound and less EA toner is required
    to create an image than with conventional toner. For example, a
    cartridge of conventional toner on a Xerox Nuvera printer, is good for
    about 13,000 images, while an EA toner cartridge will last for 23,000.
    That means less toner on a page, which further means less energy is
    used for printing.

    According to Richard Schmachtenberg, vice
    president of Consumables Development & Manufacturing Group, Xerox
    is also changing the manufacturing of conventional toners, yielding an
    estimated 15 to 25% reduction in energy per pound. “As a result, Xerox
    is well on the way to saving more than 30 million kilowatt hours of
    electricity by 2008 –enough power to light more than 24,000 U.S.
    households for a year.”Using less energy is one part of being green,
    but so are the greenhouse gas emissions levels of the manufacturing
    plant. The new facility is part of the company’s commitment to reduce
    its overall greenhouse emissions by 10% over the next five years.
    “There are 4000 control points on the facility’s computer control
    system that monitor product flow and energy use, allowing sections of
    the building or process to be powered down when not in use,”
    Schmachtenberg says.

    Xerox is hardly alone.
    Other big players
    are making their own moves to help our industry get cleaner and
    greener. Paper companies have been cleaning up their acts, sometimes
    with notable success. Océ’s 2006 Sustainablilty Report cites the
    progress the company has made in manufacturing, recycling and reduced
    emissions, especially in Europe where environmental issues are taken
    more seriously than here in the U.S.Reaching out to customers, Kodak
    just rolled out “Begin Your Passage to Sustainability,” a kit that
    provides printers with an overview of trends and best practices, as
    well as the business and operational implications of developing a
    sustainability program.

    Like the BP ads say, “It’s a start.”
    few days I see evidence that the green movement in print is gaining
    momentum. Whether it’s EA toner, greater manufacturing efficiencies,
    showing print providers how to build sustainable operations, smart
    energy practices or even just using more recycled papers, our industry
    has to be greener. I have a sense that it’s time for our industry to
    unite in new ways to ensure the sustainability of all our businesses.
    Whether or not you agree with the concerns about climate change, our
    businesses are going to have to react in a variety of ways.