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Erasable prints- Step towards a greener world

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Despite new technologies like internet, e mails, web applications, people still just like to have things in paper. The concept of Paperless office is still a dream and not yet implemented due to several practical constraints.  Statistics says 1 ton of uncoated virgin paper uses 24 trees and roughly 1 ream (500 papers) uses 6% of a tree.

Recently the famous pen manufacturer Sharpie has developed a ” Pen Pencil” , whose ink can be erased within three days after writing.

In 2004 Toshiba had developed a special erasable ink which can be used in normal LaserJet printers. The printed sheet can be wiped clean by passing it through a special erasing machine. Technology of this ink is very simple.

Toshiba E-STUDIO350EB

It is a combination of three chemicals, two of them give colour and the third one reverses the process when heat is applied causing the ink to become transparent. Toshiba claimed that they used it in their own divisions for things such as draft documents and have cut their purchase of paper by 40percent as a result.

The ink named e-blue was available in Japan but it didn’t create a worldwide impact and now the availability is also not known. They had launched a printer model E-STUDIO350EB with e-ink tonner in Japan. The main limitation of this ink is its colour. Toshiba e-blue was available in blue shade only.

After that  Xerox Corporation invented a special erasable paper which can be used in any laser printers. The prints in this paper will be erased by itself within 24 hours. So the paper can be re used for fresh printing. Xerox estimated that as many as two out of every five pages printed in the offices are mainly of draft or for a single viewing. They patented the technology by the name of “erasable paper” but nothing heard about this after that, May by sleeping in labs.

In 2006 Toshiba Corporation came again with a technology of re-writable paper claimed that it can be erased and re-printed 500 times. This technology is a combination of a special ink and a thermo sensitive paper. If the ink is heated above 180 degrees it goes black and if held at between 130 degree and 170 degree centigrade  it turns white again. Moreover the special costly plastic sheet is to be used instead of normal paper. Due to multiple reasons like requirement of plastic paper, Heat/ UV sensitivity of printouts, Excess power consumption, Heavy cost  etc killed this technology.

Few months back, a concept of “Pencil Printer” published in the popular design site Yanko designs. The designer Hoyoung Lee has suggested two awesome pencil printer designs. See the self explanatory pictures and video. This is only a raw concept. Hope some one will materialize it.

Pencil printer

Pencil printer 2

Now what we need? A mixture of all the aforesaid technologies. Yes let’s take the positive sides only. A perfect erasable printer must be with the following features

(a)               The device must be office friendly. Preferably a desktop type.

(b)               Printing and erasing facility must be incorporated in a same machine.

(c)               Must be able to use the conventional paper .

(d)               Both colour and monochrome erasing facility as per the type of printer.

(e)               It will be great if we can retrieve the ink also to reuse.

(f)                 Prints in “Draft” mode must be of temporary nature. Means automatic erasing after a stipulated time.

(g)               As in the case of Sharpie Pen pencil, the print outs in a particular mode must be of permanent type after a specified time.

(h)               Needless to say, the device must be economical and eco friendly.

Looking weird , or something to add along with this? Have you ever come across such a device or anything available like this near to you? Your comments are welcome.

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3 comments… add one
  • well, i would totally love this invention…….though there will be some bad points…..cause then ther won’t be any hard copy of anything………

    but yes….i fully support re-usability of things……and paper is on top of that list……

    • Yes, that’s what I told the print should be permanent after a specific period of time say 24 hours.

  • Great idea ! We really need to recycle a lot..

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