Toshiba Tec Corp. has developed an environmentally friendly printer called Loops that can instantly erase printed text and images to reuse paper.
Using a special ink that becomes transparent when heated, Loops can use the same piece of paper up to five or so times, according to Toshiba Tec.
Conventional copiers and printers heat powdered ink to melt it and apply it to paper, but the new ink, which can only be used with Loops, melts at a lower than usual temperature before hitting the paper. After printing, applying heat a second time turns the ink invisible.
The ink, developed with major office supply maker Pilot Corp., is currently only available in blue, with more colors slated to be introduced later.
According to Toshiba Tec, even when the power consumed to erase the ink is taken into account, using the same piece of paper five times achieves a 60-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with a conventional machine. The reduction comes from saving the power that would have been used to produce more paper.
Because the invisible ink remains on the paper after erasure, it builds up after repeated usage, eventually making clear printouts impossible.
The product comprises two machines: a multifunction peripheral that copies, faxes and prints; and an ink eraser. The ink eraser also has a built-in scanner that lets users save a digital copy of documents as they erase them.
The Loops will go on sale in February at a recommended retail price of 1,480,500 yen ($17,346), including tax, for the two-set package.
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