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Products:Energy Conservation / Prevention of Global Warming –Preventing Global Warming by Saving Energy–

History of Ricoh’s Sustainable Environmental Management: The birth of QSU

Developing the QSU Technology to Deliver the World’s First Copier to Start up in 10 Seconds1

Unknown story about the birth of QSU

Ricoh’s independently developed QSU (Quick Start-up) energy-saving technology enables copiers to quickly start up from the sleep mode. Using this technology, Ricoh developed a groundbreaking copier in terms of energy conservation performance and released it under the product name “imagio Neo350/450.” The following describes the background that led to the birth of QSU technology.

In September 1996, a Ricoh employee visited Sweden to attend an international conference. The conference was held by the IEA2 on the theme of energy-saving electrical appliances, with participation by a number of global manufacturers of home electric appliances and office machines. At the conference, the employee was quite impressed with the comments made by large users, such as financial institutions and government agencies in Europe. Amid the trend of demand-side management (DSM), these users proposed that the specifications on energy conservation performance be met by copiers and said, “If a copier that meets the specifications is developed and put on the market, we will buy it.” The employee, who had once worked in the Company’s product planning department, felt a sense of urgency, recognizing that user’s needs for energy-saving devices were much higher than the level assumed by manufacturers.

  • 1 Became the world’s first copier to meet the requirements of the IEA-DSM program
  • 2 International Energy Agency

Recognizing the problems with the energy-saving mode

The report made by the employee who had attended the conference in Sweden urged Ricoh to review its ideas about energy conservation and in the following year, 1997, the company established a technology committee composed of members well versed in energy conservation technologies.

In November of the same year, the EPA3 held an international conference on energy conservation in the United States in response to an increase in the public’s interest in standby energy in Europe. At the conference, Dr. Bernard Aebischer, Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, said, “The energy-saving mode represents an environmentally friendly technology, but because copiers do not quickly start up from the sleep mode, the technology is not widely used unfortunately.” Indeed at that time, it took at least 30 seconds for copiers to recover from the sleep mode, and due to this long waiting time, the energy-saving feature was not utilized at busy offices. Members of Ricoh’s technology committee attending the conference completely agreed with Aebischer and decided to develop an innovative technology to promote the use of the energy-saving mode. After the conference, they began to accelerate development activities to shorten the waiting time to 10 seconds, which was deemed impossible at that time.

Two years later, Ricoh unveiled the QSU technology, which enabled the company to meet the needs of large users throughout the world who proposed the specifications on the energy conservation performance of copiers. The model equipped with the technology was greatly appreciated, because it could meet the needs of highly energy-conscious customers; so much so that it won the Copier of the Future Award at the COMDEX4 held in November 1999.

  • 3 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is a certification body for the ENERGY STAR program
  • 4 The Computer Dealers’ Exhibition held annually in Las Vegas from 1979 to 2003 as one of the world’s largest IT exhibitions
Ricoh received the top prize at the Energy Conservation Grand Prizes in Japan (left) and the COMDEX’s Copier of the Future Award in the United States (right)Ricoh received the top prize at the Energy Conservation Grand Prizes in Japan (left) and the COMDEX’s Copier of the Future Award in the United States (right)

The imagio Neo 350/450 became the first copier to receive the top prize at the Energy Conservation Grand Prizes

The imagio Neo 350/450 released in 2001 could start up from the energy-saving mode in only 10 seconds, while it took 30 or more seconds for previous models to do so. Furthermore, the time required for double printing was substantially reduced with this model. In recognition of these features, the machine became the first copier to receive the top prize at the Energy Conservation Grand Prizes in Japan, following the reception of the COMDEX prize in the United States. Ricoh continues to advance its QSU technology, and now both its high-speed copiers and color copiers are able to start up from the energy-saving mode in less than 10 seconds. Ricoh is making untiring efforts to deliver products that are both environmentally and user-friendly.