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Reverse Printer Unprints Pages

From the Printware Blog on Thursday 22nd March 2012 in Printing Technology

As mentioned in our recent article, Toshiba Announces Printer Which Uses Erasable Toner, the idea of producing printed material which can be re-used isn't new but it is generating interest again. Most organisations and individuals are keenly aware of the need to conserve the planet's resources these days – a shift in attitudes which, no doubt, contributed to Toshiba's decision to launch its FriXion Ball printer later this year.

Now, a research team at the University of Cambridge has developed a system which can "unprint" laser-printed material. Details are limited at this time but the process uses long and ultra-short pulsed lasers to remove the toner and leave the paper undamaged, ready for re-use. The paper can be re-used several times and the technique is said to be up to 20 times more efficient than recycling and more eco-friendly, generating only half the carbon emissions.

"Material recovery through reusing eliminates the forestry step from the life cycle of paper and eradicates emissions arising from paper incineration or decomposition in landfill," according to team member, Julian Allwood.

Now the team needs to build a prototype and integrate the system into a practical device – once they do, re-usable prints will be yet another step closer.

by Anthony Morgan

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