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Yoshihiko Hotta, a Ricoh engineer, receives the Johann Gutenberg prize
for 2014 for the development of thermal rewritable technology

Tokyo, October 10, 2014—Yoshihiko Hotta, an Executive specialist in the IMS Division of Ricoh, was awarded the Johann Gutenberg prize for the year 2014 from IS&T (the Society for Imaging Science & Technology). The award ceremony took place on September 10 at the NIP30 (the 30th International Conference on Advances in Non-Impact Printing Technologies), a major annual meeting of the society held in the U.S.

The Johann Gutenberg prize, which has been granted every year since 1987 to one or two people who have made a significant contribution to the science and technology of printing. This award is presented by IS&T under the sponsorship of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in the U.S.

Hotta has been engaged in the research and development of thermal recording technology and rewritable recording technology since he joined Ricoh in 1978. The award was given in recognition of his contributions to thermal rewritable technology, which he has been working on since 1986.
Through Hotta’s efforts, Ricoh was able to develop opaque type rewritable technology that can change into transparent or opaque by the application of heat and the development of leuco type rewritable technology that can change color using leuco dye. The rewritable loyalty cards widely used today were made possible through this technology.
Ricoh also undertook the research and development of the “Ricoh Rewritable Laser System” (hereinafter “Rewritable Laser System”) that established a new process for image printing capable of performing about 1,000 contactless rewrites. This led to significant improvements in high-speed printing and erasure as well as the photostability and repetition durability of labels. It is also a system for distribution solutions as it expanded rewritable technology that had been limited to indoor use into outdoor applications.

image:Dr. Yoshihiko Hotta holding the award plaque and the engraved medal with IS&T President Dr. Alan Hodgson

Dr. Yoshihiko Hotta holding the award plaque and the engraved medal with IS&T President Dr. Alan Hodgson at the IS&T award ceremony on NIP30/DF2014 (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

image:Award plaque and engraved medal

Award plaque and engraved medal

Development of Thermal Rewritable Technology

A number of rewritable recording technologies have been proposed in this high-profile technology area from the aspects of convenience and reduction of environmental impact. In particular, thermal rewritable recording media using heat drew attention ahead of other technologies, and Hotta focused his efforts on opaque type and leuco type rewritable technologies. These technologies were adopted for displays on loyalty cards due to their controllability and stability, as they can form or erase images with heating depending on the temperature. The technologies are also used for commuter passes that display the expiry dates like IC Cards. All of these items are widely used today.
The Rewritable Laser System was an expanded application of the technology to industrial use. In the physical distribution field, tote containers are reused repeatedly and barcodes or labels are pasted on them indicating delivery address or content. With the contactless laser recording system, the Rewritable Laser System has made it possible to print or erase text on labels pasted on tote containers at high speed. Ricoh also developed a new material that insulates ultraviolet rays and oxygen to improve photostability, while improving the durability of labels by introducing a unique font system. As a result, the company succeeded in raising its thermal rewritable technology to a level that can withstand outdoor use. This effort resulted in improved efficiency and reduced environmental impact at the same time, as it eliminated the work involved in changing or discarding labels after usage.

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About Ricoh

Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2014, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,195 billion yen based on the IFRS accounting standard (approx. 21.3 billion USD).
The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.
Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.
For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com/about/

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