Examples of major activities

Development of environmental technologies

Developing a next-generation water treatment technology based on ozone micro/nano bubble technology

  • JapanRicoh Co., Ltd. / Japan

At the Eco-Products 2010 exhibition held in Tokyo Big Sight in December 2010, Ricoh displayed an aquarium in which carp (freshwater fish) and sea bream were swimming together. The nano bubble technology gives unlimited new possibilities to water.At the Eco-Products 2010 exhibition held in Tokyo Big Sight in December 2010, Ricoh displayed an aquarium in which carp (freshwater fish) and sea bream were swimming together. The nano bubble technology gives unlimited new possibilities to water.

Ricoh has been developing production process/recycling technologies to reduce the environmental impacts of its production processes. As part of this effort, and specifically to solve the problem of wastewater from the polymerized toner production process, and also in consideration of the risk of possible depletion of water resources in the future, Ricoh began conducting a joint project to develop and make practical use of a technology to recycle water used in manufacturing with REO Research Institute and the Research Institute for Environmental Management Technology of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. This project was completed in 2010. The next-generation water treatment technology developed in the project by applying REO Research Institute's ozone micro-nano bubble technology can purify waste water from the polymerized toner production process by using energy derived from the bursting of fine ozone bubbles (below 300 nano-meters* in diameter). Water treated through this technology can be reused in the production process, thus providing a closed water recycling system. At present, some wastewater from Ricoh's polymerized toner production process has to be incinerated because it is difficult to break down the water, which contains some very persistent organic matters, by chemical agents. In the closed water recycling system, however, the thermal treatment of the highly concentrated wastewater that is now conducted prior to the purification process will become unnecessary, and both the use of underground water and the amount of water eventually wasted from the process will be substantially reduced. The technology is expected to be applied to a range of production systems as an innovative environmental technology to save water resources and reduce CO2 emissions. Ricoh aims to complete the closed recycling system for the polymerized toner production process within fiscal 2012.

  • *Nano-meter: 10-9 meters = one-billionth meter

Establishment of technology for recirculating and reusing industrial water with the ozone micro/nano bubble technology

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Products designed to help save energy and prevent global warming

Evolution of QSU energy-saving technology

imagio MP C3301/2801 seriesimagio MP C3301/2801 series

QSU (Quick Start-up), Ricoh's original energy saving technology, was developed to achieve effective energy conservation for copiers. It enables quick recovery from the energy-saving mode, allowing users to make copies whenever they need to. The use of the energy-saving mode helps reduce environmental impact, but the longer it takes to recover from the mode, the less it is used by customers. Ricoh focused its efforts on developing energy saving technologies in a way that satisfies both user-friendliness and energy conservation so that our customers will use the energy-saving mode more often. In 1997 we established an energysaving committee to accelerate the development of such technologies, and developed QSU technology. In 2001, we launched the imagio Neo 350 series, the first multifunctional monochrome copiers equipped with QSU, and this product, which recovers from the energy-saving mode in only 10 seconds (30 seconds or more for previous models), received the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Prize, the highest prize of the Energy Conservation Grand Prizes presented by the Ministry in Japan. Following that, we introduced HYBRID QSU, an integration of traditional QSU technology and capacitors (electric storage devices), in high-speed multifunctional monochrome digital copiers, and have since reinforced the lineup of QSU-equipped products.1
In fiscal 2006, Ricoh developed Color QSU technology, which adopts the IH2 fusing system and successfully reduces recovery time from the energy-saving mode for multifunctional color copiers, which had been a difficult challenge. The imagio MP C3301/C2801 series, released in November 2010, offers higher thermal efficiency due to the Color QSU technology and the color PxP toner with a lower melting point. These are the first color copiers that recover from the energy-saving mode in 9.9 seconds, as fast as monochrome copiers. Also, for typical electricity consumption (TEC)3 we have achieved a reduction of around 50% compared with previous models.
In addition, we also developed energy-saving printers that use our GELJET technology, including the IPSiO GX e2600 series launched in December 2009, which boasts a very low power requirement: average power consumption in operation of less than 36 watts, equivalent to the energy consumption of a fluorescent light; and power consumption in energy-saving mode of less than 1.4 watts.

  • 1Capacitors are incorporated only in the 100 V machines marketed in Japan.
  • 2IH stands for "Induction Heating," a technology that heats metal instantly using the magnetic field generated by an electric current passing through a coil. This technology is also widely incorporated in electric rice-cookers and stoves.
  • 3Figures measured using the method designated under the international Energy Star Program.

Environmental impact reduction in cooperation with customers

Our managed document service being used at COP 10

  • JapanRicoh Co., Ltd. / Japan

Ricoh Group employees running document output services at COP 10Ricoh Group employees running document output services at COP 10

Ricoh provided outsourced document output management services during COP 10 (the Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity) and COPMOP 5 (the Fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) held in Nagoya in October 2010. Ricoh was selected to provide outsourced services because of the high quality of its global managed document services (MDS)*, and the following endeavors by the Group to be environmentally responsible: 1) significant efforts to reduce environmental impact in line with its sustainable environmental management strategy and concurrent efforts over many years to conserve biodiversity to improve the Earth's capabilities to recover and 2) efforts to reduce environmental impact not only by improving the environmental performance of its products but also through various measures at every stage of the lifecycle. We provided 114 copiers and other equipment for these meetings, including multifunctional digital copiers and printers equipped with energy-saving technology. Cooperation between Ricoh, Ricoh Japan, Ricoh Technosystems and Ricoh Logistics System, enabled us to install equipment in locations that would allow documents to be output efficiently with the least number of units. Maintenance support was provided around the clock to assist the smooth operation of COP 10. Our services included collection and destruction of classified documents to ensure security. The Ricoh Group will make good use of the experience and expertise gained in these large-scale conferences to build networks and expand its business to IT services so that it can contribute to the effective running of conferences and meetings both in Japan and abroad and to reducing environmental impact.

  • *Managed Document Services (MDS) is a service that advises companies on how to improve the efficiency of their document printing services, including a document workflow solution: Based on a detailed analysis of how customers input and output documents at their offices, proposals for the optimum locations of devices and the most effective workflow are made; and operation and management of the proposed printing environment as a whole are handled by the service provider. The Ricoh Group provides MDS globally.

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Saving energy and preventing global warming in business activities

Highly productive, low environmental impact and highly flexible manufacturing—Ricoh's original cart production line

  • GlobalRicoh Co., Ltd. / Global

Cart production lineCart production line

As of 2011, the Ricoh Group's production system is spread over 29 (major) production sites in five global regions: Japan, the Americas, Europe, China, and the Asia-Pacific region. The year 1985, when the Ricoh Gotemba Plant began operating as a core production site for imaging equipment such as copiers and printers, was a period of expansion for OA equipment, and mass production was started as conveyor lines that gave high production efficiency through automation were installed at production sites. However, copiers subsequently acquired many additional functions, including printing, scanning, and network functions, and in response to diversifying customer needs there was a large increase in the variety of copier models, with the industry entering a period of high-mix low-volume production. The conveyer manufacturing system was suitable for low-mix high-volume production, but not for production equipment model changes or high-mix low-volume production. In 1999, Ricoh began gradually eliminating fixed conveyor lines and introducing a layout-free production system capable of responding flexibly to production volume and equipment model changes. In an example of this, the "cart production line," multiple carts are lined up in a row and powered by air cylinders. The carts move along the production line carrying products. Because huge, high-energy consuming conveyors are not required, this system has brought huge reductions in environmental impact and energy costs;* moreover, because the layout can be freely changed, the formation can be rearranged on a case-by-case basis to suit equipment models and production volumes. In-process inventory, lead time, space, and maintenance are all reduced by 70–80%. In addition, because of the reduction in space, reductions in air-conditioning and lighting costs are also achieved. This cart production line has been improved to be used as a model for introducing the layout-free production system in other production sites around the world.

  • *Air cylinders are used to move the carts, enabling a reduction in electricity consumption of 99% compared with conventional conveyor line motors.

Environmental communication

Installing a 100% renewable-energy powered billboard in London

  • GlobalRicoh Group / Global

Eco billboard in LondonEco billboard in London

On June 28, 2001, Ricoh unveiled an advertising billboard powered by 100% renewable energy. Located about halfway between Heathrow Airport and central London, it is the company's second eco billboard, following the fully solar-powered billboard installed in New York's Times Square in April 2009. Designed under Ricoh's sustainable environmental management initiatives, the purpose of these two billboards is to demonstrate the company's commitment to renewable energy. The new billboard, three meters high by 12 meters across, is powered by an efficient combination of solar and wind energy generated by 96 solar panels and five wind propellers, which average approximately 12,612 Wh/day. The amount of power generated will vary from day to day depending on the weather, meaning that on some days the board will not be lit up while on others surplus energy can be stored in the battery.

  • Environment Environment Additional information on Ricoh's sustainable environmental management is available.

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