Toshiba's “e-blue(TM)” Decolorable Toner and Erasing Machine Set to Boost Paper Recycling at Offices in Japan

2 December, 2003


Tokyo -- Toshiba Corporation today announced that it would start sales and marketing in Japan of a decolorable printing ink that is rendered invisible by heat treatment, allowing companies to reuse paper, to cut office waste and to reduce business costs. The products in the “e-blueTM” range include decolorable toner, an erasing machine, a photoconductor unit and decolorable ink pen. Sales and marketing of the “e-blueTM” products will start on December 8.

Paper disposal is a pressing environmental issue. In Japan, waste paper accounts for as much as 40 percent of office waste, and despite efforts to collect paper for recycling, cost and quality degradation limit the recycling rate to approximately 60 percent. Toshiba targeted development of a highly efficient paper-reuse system as an essential approach to environmental preservation, and developed a prototype decolorable ink in September 1998. The company has subsequently directed resources to refinement of the system, culminating in the launch of “e-blueTM”.

Toshiba’s “e-blueTM” realizes efficient, cost-effective reuse of the huge volumes of paper generated in offices. The essence of the product range is an innovative ink that is entirely free of carbon and that decolors when exposed to a high level of heat. The toner prints words and images on standard plain paper in blue to distinguish it from carbon-black-based toner. Toshiba will target initial sales of “e-blueTM” at corporate clients who use laser printers and standard black toner, and plans to extend the application of “e-blueTM” products in the near future to include copy machines and large-scale, industrial-use printing.

Toshiba will continue to support environmental protection by introducing eco-friendly products like “e-blueTM”, and by promoting eco-businesses as a new growth area within the company’s social infrastructure business domain.

Full details of “e-blueTM” and its decoloring process will be presented at EcoProducts 2003, to be held at Tokyo Big Site from December 11 to 13.

The “e-blueTM” range

e-blueTM decolorable toner: TMD-TB01   ¥20,000
e-blueTM photoconductor unit: TMD-DU01   ¥70,000
e-blueTM erasing machine: TMD-HE01   open price
e-blueTM ink ballpoint pen: TZZ-JJ1-P   ¥300
e-blueTM ink marker (pen): TZZ-WYS1-P   ¥300

* The erasing machine removes words and images printed with the decolorable toner on plain paper, in batches of approximately 400-500 A4-sized pages, or 200-250 A3-sized pages, in three hours.
* e-blueTM pen and marker contain decolorable ink that can be erased by the erasing machine and can be used to write on documents that are printed by e-blueTM toner .
* Sales to start in Japan on December 8, 2003.

Basic Principal of Decoloration

Toshiba's decolorable toner essentially reverses the reaction that occurs in the development process during printing on thermal paper. In thermal printing, the paper is coated with leuco dye and capsulized phenolic developer. Application of heat or pressure breaks the capsule, and the dye and developer bond to form printed images.

Toshiba's e-blueTM decolorable toner contains the developer and the dye, along with a decoloring reagent. The chemical bonding of the dye and developer breaks down at temperatures around 140C(284F), which are generated during heat treatment by the erasing machine. The detached developer bonds with the decoloring reagent, the dye and developer separate, and printed images are erased. Bonding of the developer and decoloring reagent stabilizes the decoloring.

Basic Principal of Decoloration

Increasing reuse of paper with “e-blueTM” products

Increasing reuse of paper with "e-blue(TM)" products

Information in the press releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement,but is subject to change without prior notice.