Environmental Technologies:Technology Development:Products
–Biomass Resins–

Development of alternative materials using biomass resins

  • JapanJapan/Ricoh Co., Ltd.
imagio MP 6001GP imagio MP 6001GP

As part of its efforts to develop alternative materials to realize a lowcarbon and resource-recirculating society, Ricoh is working on the development of components and toners for copiers that utilize biomass resins. Biomass resins have been receiving increasing attention recently as they are recyclable and contribute less to global warming than their petroleum-based counterparts. In 2002, we started development of biomass plastic for application in our copiers, and in 2005, rolled out the industry’s fi rst multifunctional digital copier equipped with biomass components (50% biomass content1) in its main unit. As collection and recycling of toners after printing is rather diffi cult, it is important to reduce the environmental impact of their components—currently, petroleum-based resins constitute the primary components. Ricoh has worked on the commercialization of biomass toners since2 2006, releasing them onto market in November 2009.
Ricoh plans to continue technical development toward improving biomass content and expanding the use of biomass resins. At the same time, Ricoh plans to search for possibilities toward commercialization of technology for effectively using limited resources in other materials as well as by reducing the use of resources that are highly likely to dry up and focusing on alternative resources.

  • 1Percentage of biomass resins included in components
  • 2Designed to be used for Ricoh products

History of Ricoh’s biomass resin material development

 
2002 Began developing biomass plastic components as materials for copiers
2005 Became the industry’s first to employ plastic with 50% biomass content in the main component of a multifunctional digital copier
2006 Began efforts toward commercialization of biomass toners
2008 Released the imagio MP C2200 model, which employs a newly developed plastic component with roughly 70% biomass content
2009 Released the imagio MP 6001GP, equipped with “for E Toner,” and became the world’s first manufacturer to employ a biomass toner (25% biomass content)

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ポリ乳酸の金属フリー低温重合

  • JapanJapan/Ricoh Co., Ltd.
image:本技術により生成されたポリ乳酸 本技術により生成されたポリ乳酸

2012年に静岡大学の協力により、「ポリ乳酸の金属フリー低温重合技術」「ポリ乳酸の金属フリー低温重合技術」1の開発に成功しました。これは、バイオマス(植物)由来の素材から合成が可能なバイオプラスチックとして注目される「ポリ乳酸」を、高圧のCO2(超臨界CO2*2)と有機分子触媒を利用して生産する技術で、有機溶媒や金属溶媒を使用しないため、安全で高品質かつ低コストでポリ乳酸を製造することができます。この技術は、画像機器の領域に限らず、プラスチックを利用する広い領域に展開できるため、今後、各分野でバイオマス資源の利用が促進されることが期待できます。

  • *1重合とは、1 種またはそれ以上の低分子化合物が2 個以上科学的に結合して、分子量の大きな化合物を作ること。
  • *2超臨界とは、臨界点以上の温度・圧力下においた物質の状態のこと。期待と液体の区別がつかない状態といわれ、気体の拡散性と液体の溶解性を持つ。

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