On April 17, Ricoh announced plans to invest ¥11 billion ($135.1 million as of April 18, 2012 exchange rate) to add three new toner production lines at Tohoku Ricoh Co., Ltd., a Ricoh production plant in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, that manufactures printers, MFP, and toner. This is one of Ricoh’s facilities that was damaged in the earthquake and tsunami a little over a year ago but has since resumed full operations. Construction is slated to begin May 1, with full operation of the three new lines expected to begin in June 2013.
Ricoh is expanding production so as to produce its PxP-EQ chemical toner at the facility. Currently, the company is manufacturing the toner only at its Numazu plant in Japan. The firm says it is expanding production to meet a projected increase in demand for the toner.
PxP-EQ toner has a lower melting point than Ricoh’s previous polymerized chemical toners, enabling hardware to start up more quickly from sleep mode. Ricoh says this generation of chemical toner can be fixed at a temperature 30°C lower than the first generation of PxP toner, which was released in 2004.
The EQ in the name stands for eco-friendliness and quality, and Ricoh asserts it has made improvements in terms of these areas as well. The lower melting point provides energy savings. Ricoh is also using new polyester resins that prevent the toner from deteriorating in quality when stored in a warehouse or in transport, which can be a problem with other low-melt toners. Unlike other resins that soften gradually as temperatures rise, the resins used in PxP-EQ toner are designed not to change states until the fusing temperature is reached.
Ricoh also says the new toner has a uniform particle size of 5 microns and spreads more easily and uniformly, allowing less toner to be used to produce high-quality, high-resolution images, The color reproduction area has been expanded 10 percent compared with the previous generation of PxP toner.
The new PxP-EQ chemical toner is used in the Ricoh Aficio MP C2802, C3302, C4002, and C5002, new A3 color MFPs announced this February in Japan. These machines have not made their way to the United States yet. However, given that Ricoh recently announced these devices in Japan, we would expect to see similar machines using PxP-EQ toner make their way to other markets in the coming months. That Ricoh is expanding production of PxP-EQ toner indicates we can also expect to see the OEM roll out this new toner in more devices in the years ahead.
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Original source: Ricoh Expands Production of Latest-Generation Chemical Toner
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