Wednesday, 02 December 2015 08:10

Epson invents recycled paper – on demand, on premise


In what is a world first Epson has invented an on premise, on demand paper maker that recycles used printer paper using a waterless process.

If that sounds good, then open your cheque books wide – this 2.6 x 1.2 x 1.8m (excluding projecting parts) will cost somewhere between five and six figures – it is for enterprise use at this stage.

A developmental prototype of the PaperLab will be demonstrated at the Epson booth (booth location: 4-002) at Eco-Products 2015 , an environmental exhibition that will take place at the Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Centre) from December 10 to 12.

Epson plans to put the new PaperLab into commercial production in Japan in 2016 with sales in other regions to be decided at a later date. Businesses and government offices that install a PaperLab will be able to produce paper of various sizes, thicknesses, and types, from office paper and business card paper to paper that is coloured and scented.

As Epson says of “The enduring appeal of paper lies in its simplicity as a communication tool. Information on the highly portable and always convenient medium of paper is easy to read, easy to digest, and easy to remember. On the other hand, this essential tool is also produced from a limited resource.”

The technology is interesting – waterless does not mean liquid-less. Ordinarily it takes about a cup of water to make a single A4 sheet of paper.

First used paper goes into the machine and is securely shredded. It is mechanically ‘fiberised’ and turned into long, thin, cottony threads. It is then bound using a secret ingredient - liquids that can increase strength, whiteness, fragrance, flame resistance, and other properties for almost any given application.

Once it is a pulp it is pressure formed to produce A4 or A3 cut sheets or various thickness from bond to light card. It is a closed system that does not require plumbing.

It can produce the first new sheet of paper in about three minutes of having loaded it with waste paper and pressing the Start button. The system can produce about 14 A4 sheets per minute and 6,720 sheets in an eight-hour day. Espon has not revealed the cost of the process or a sheet of paper. One expects that over its life the total cost of ownership and paper production should roughly equal to commerically avaialble paper.

Main Specifications of the Prototype Product


The PaperLab office papermaking system

Dimensions (w x d x h)

2.6 x 1.2 x 1.8 meters (excluding projecting parts)

Paper production speed

14 sheets per minute (A4 sheets)

Paper that can be produced

Sizes: A4 & A3

Types: Office paper, business card paper, and other paper of various thicknesses. Colour paper (cyan, magenta, yellow, and colours formed by mixing these colours).

Paper that can be recycled

Ordinary copy paper (A4 & A3)



NOTE: These specifications are for a product that is still in development and are subject to change without notice.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises nearly 72,000 employees in 93 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental burdens.

Epson Australia has image capture and image output products for the commercial, industrial, consumer, business, photography and graphic arts, retail (POS) solutions, home, office and educational projectors. Established in 1983 Epson Australia is headquartered in North Ryde NSW.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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