Figure 1: Elements of toner
The biomass toner requires less petroleum than conventional toner, and contributes to the prevention of petroleum depletion. Being carbon-neutral, the biomass toner works to reduce the net amount of CO2 emitted from the combustion of used toner.
In November 2009, Ricoh released the world’s first digital multi-function copier featuring biomass toner, the “for E toner.” (This product is sold only in Japan.)
Toner must meet a variety of characteristic requirements. To reduce the power consumption of a copier, the power required for thermal fixing must be reduced. This, in turn, requires the toner to be molten at a low temperature. However, toner with a low melting point has its own problems?it tends to coagulate when stored under a high temperature, for instance. In this way, low-temperature fixing and heat resistance hinder each other. This dilemma can be solved depending on the characteristics of binder resin.
Plant-based resins have been widely used for molding, but their characteristics are far from those required for toner resins. Ricoh has thus developed a new plant-based resin for use as toner binders. It is already in use as part of the binder for our biomass-based “for E toner.”
The biomass content of the “for E toner” is 25%(*2). While meeting the requirements of both low-temperature fixing and heat resistance, the “for E toner” has the same high performance as our petroleum-based toner. With the excellent chargeability and fluidity, the “for E toner” has even attained a higher image quality than conventional toner.
(*2) Ricoh uses the biomass content, in percentage, to indicate how much biomass is contained in parts.
Figure 3: The biomass “for E toner,” as used in a product