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Epson diversifies offerings: Apparently, paper isn't dead

Epson has announced it has developed the world’s first compact office papermaking system that can turn shredded waste paper into new paper without using water.

Known as PaperLab, Epson says the product will be able to be installed by businesses and government offices in a backyard area and will produce paper of various sizes, thicknesses, and types.

Epson plans to put product into commercial production in Japan in 2016 with sales in other regions to be decided at a later date. 

According to Epson, there is enduring universal appeal in paper in that it is a simple communication tool. Information on the highly portable and convenient medium of paper is easy to read, easy to digest, and easy to remember. However, the company says this essential tool is also produced from a limited resource.

Known for its work in the printing market but wanting to expand its focus, Epson set out to develop technology that would change the paper cycle. With PaperLab, Epson aims to give new value to paper and stimulate recycling.

PaperLab localises recycling, secures the destruction of confidential documents, produces various types of paper, and is an eco-friendly process.

Office-based recycling process

Ordinarily, paper is recycled in an extensive process that typically involves transporting waste paper from the office to a papermaking (recycling) facility. With PaperLab, Epson is looking to shorten and localise a new recycling process in the office.

Secure destruction of confidential documents

Epson says, until now enterprise has had to hire contractors to handle the disposal of confidential documents or has shredded them themselves. With a PaperLab enterprises will be able to dispose of documents onsite instead of handing them over to a contractor. PaperLab breaks documents down into paper fibres, so the information on them is completely destroyed.

High-speed production of various types of paper

According to Epson, PaperLab produces the first new sheet of paper in about three minutes of having loaded it with waste paper and pressing the start button. The system can produce about 14 A4 sheets per minute and 6,720 sheets in an eight-hour day.

Users can produce a variety of types of paper, from A4 and A3 office paper of various thicknesses to paper for business cards, colour paper and even scented paper.

Environmental performance

Ordinarily it takes about a cup of water to make a single A4 sheet of paper. However, Epson has created an entirely dry process. In addition, recycling paper onsite in the office shrinks and simplifies the recycling loop, so users can expect to purchase less new paper and reduce their transport CO2 emissions, the company says.

PaperLab technology

In addition to its printer business operations technologies, Epson has developed Dry Fibre Technology without water, a new group of technologies for the PaperLab. The Dry Fibre Technology consists of fiberising, binding, and forming, three separate technologies that work together to enable the dry process..