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A Printer That Uses No Consumables

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the insert-to-recycle dept.

Printer 240

jimboh2k sends word of a printer introduced by Japanese company Sanwa Newtec, called the PrePeat RP-3100 (a play on "repeat"). It prints on A4-sized sheets of PET plastic, and these sheets can be reused up to 1,000 times, the company says. The printer uses heat transfer technology rather than ink, and so has no consumables. There's a video of the printer in operation at the link. The PrePeat costs about $5,600 and a supply of 1,000 plastic sheets will set you back another $3,300. However, the company gives a use case in which a corporation saves $7,360 per year on consumables, as well as putting less CO2 into the atmosphere. So far the PrePeat is available only in Japan.

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240 comments

Yes but.... (4, Funny)

budword (680846) | more than 4 years ago | (#31127982)

Are there Linux drivers ?

Re:Yes but.... (3, Insightful)

Bootarn (970788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128920)

One can hope that they release a .ppd, making the printer usable under GNU/Linux, *BSD and OS X at the same time.

Re:Yes but.... (2, Funny)

gafisher (865473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128940)

Sorry, Windows-only. Linux users will have to plant a tree every few years to achieve the same environmental benefits.

Re:Yes but.... (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129122)

linux must save a bundle of trees by having only a couple of physical copies with packaging..

Define "consumable" (5, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128002)

These proprietary plastic sheets sound a bit like a consumable to me.
Yeah, they're re-usable. But if it's stuck in a filing cabinet then you can't re-use it now can you.

Re:Define "consumable" (4, Insightful)

cohensh (1358679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128094)

Unless it runs without electricity it consumes that as well.

Re:Define "consumable" (2, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129106)

Hear, hear. I'm holding out for a perpetual motion printer that consumes no energy to do its work.

Re:Define "consumable" (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129202)

Unless it runs without electricity it consumes that as well.

It's steam-powered, using waste heat generated from the CPU in your computer. The rivet work on the boiler is awesome.

Re:Define "consumable" (4, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128162)

But now you can just file documents by date, and instead of buying new paper, just reuse the oldest sheets that have already been printed. This takes care of the document retention policy at the same time as making filing extremely easy.

Re:Define "consumable" (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128202)

Pro-tip: Anything that's "resuable" that has a limit on the number of times it can be re-used like, say CD-RWs or this plastic paper, are actually consumable.

Still, if it really does last 1,000 times (which I doubt), and you're only printing stuff for temporary consumption (as in, you aren't keeping hard copies of anything locked in a filing cabinet), you actually could save enough money -- if you print enough, that is.

Re:Define "consumable" (4, Informative)

N1AK (864906) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128358)

Pro-tip: writing pro-tip just makes you look silly. Additionally, their is a limited number of times anything will work before it fails, we simply define consumables based on the quantity of use being sufficiently/entirely limited. A car isn't generally considered to be a consumable, but they don't have a lifespan beyond the useful lifetime of a CD-RW (depending of course on how you use both).

Re:Define "consumable" (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128420)

Pro-tip: writing their instead of there while critiquing someone just makes you look silly.

Re:Define "consumable" (3, Funny)

scotch (102596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128494)

Pro-tip: if you're going to be a douche on-line, be sure to login for that extra personal touch.

Re:Define "consumable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128764)

Pro-tip: anon FTW!

Re:Define "consumable" (4, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128226)

These proprietary plastic sheets sound a bit like a consumable to me.

Yeah, they're re-usable. But if it's stuck in a filing cabinet then you can't re-use it now can you.

I've got a boss who prints crap out all the time. Just random junk. Instead of forwarding an email to me, he'll print it out and hand it to me. And those random bits of junk get thrown away pretty quickly.

I routinely have to print out documentation for various clients... Take it on-site with me... And after I'm done there, the printout gets shredded.

For non-permanent bits of information that you'd still like to take away from a computer screen, this could be very handy.

Re:Define "consumable" (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128432)

Instead of forwarding an email to me, he'll print it out and hand it to me.

You're obviously one of the lucky ones, who doesn't have to deal with their boss forwarding emails to them.

Re:Define "consumable" (2, Funny)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128518)

Instead of forwarding an email to me, he'll print it out and hand it to me.

You're obviously one of the lucky ones, who doesn't have to deal with their boss forwarding emails to them.

The emails he forwards to me are the stupid ones I don't need - chain letters and whatnot.

The ones that I actually need, with useful links and product specs and whatnot, he prints out.

Re:Define "consumable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128642)

Every time I get an email at work that asks me not to print it unless absolutely necessary, I print it and put it in the shredder. Take that, Earth!

Re:Define "consumable" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128722)

Every time I get an email at work that asks me not to print it unless absolutely necessary, I print it and put it in the shredder. Take that, Earth!

Yeah, but I bet you recycle the shredded paper, pussy!

Re:Define "consumable" (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128234)

It's obviously not designed for printing fileable stuff. Probably more useful for printing things that change daily, like work assignments/maps/other instructions, or menus for the cafeteria, signs about the latest and greatest, and the like. It probably beats replacing everything with an electronic screen.

Niche application, but a decent one.

Re:Define "consumable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128510)

If your maps change daily then you must work at the local supermarket. (Our Walmart is like that, its being turned into a superwalmart, and stuff is moved daily)

Re:Define "consumable" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128610)

Ok, I'll just type it up on my invisible typewriter.

Re:Define "consumable" (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128812)

Not to mention...

For me when ever I print something out it is for the following reasons

1. It is something I needed stored for a long time and put cabinet and pulled back if I need it again and it is not on my computer.
2. For something I will need to take a pen and sketch or in general mark up... Check boxes, take extra notes around or highlight key fields.
3. Something I can fold up into say a booklet (a lot of people doesn't like doing this but I do) so I can read more carefully.

This type of printing will make me in general afraid to print out anything because I will need to really take care of the paper. Which I don't want to take the responsibility for.

Consumable Free printers will be worthless until it can print on normal or at least very affordable (Less then carbon paper)

Re:Define "consumable" (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128966)

Well to trade anecdotes, I am pretty much the exact opposite, the only things that I print out are stuff I need once, hotel reservations, train tickets(in Germany you can buy and print-out train tickets for long distance travel online, much easier than trying to get a real ticket). After I have taken the train trip or stayed at the hotel there is little reason for me to store the documents for later(though the caveat is the German train conductors tend to punch holes in the paper....)

This is perfect for documents like that. In fact, I print so rarely that I don't even own a printer, fortunately my work lets me get away with limited printing, but I would consider one of these things as unlike inkjet printers, the ink will not dry out. Paying $20+ for about 20 pages does tend to get a little old.

Re:Define "consumable" (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129150)

Where I work, I could swear many of printouts are never even looked at. There's always a stack of printouts on the printer, just sitting there. (Incidentally, an awful lot of them do not appear to be work-related).

Re:Define "consumable" (1)

Sillygates (967271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128890)

Yeah, they're re-usable. But if it's stuck in a filing cabinet then you can't re-use it now can you.

And, even in a good office, I'd be amazed if even half of them got recycled into the system, and not lost/thrown away.

Confidential documents?
* Recovery of the last print might be possible?
* It's a pain to erase the pages (refeeding into an appliance)

Ugly plastic wins again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128018)

What, the company is supposed to supply a use case that doesn't support the product?

$3.30 each? (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128032)

How soon until one doesn't feel guilty about throwing away a sheet?

Re:$3.30 each? (1)

Polumna (1141165) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128408)

How soon until one doesn't feel guilty about throwing away a sheet?

Assuming constant cost of 3.30 USD? And they're available only in Japan? I'm guessing in six years. Three years if Sarah Palin gets elected in 2012. :P

Under a very narrow set of conditions... (5, Insightful)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128036)

Great, so long as you never pin the paper up, fold, wrinkle or spindle it. Never get oil on from your fingers on it, coffee stains, pen marks, or tape residue.

Until they include a box that will shred the old "Paper", melt down and extrude new paper, this is worthless.

Re:Under a very narrow set of conditions... (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128774)

you're forgetting the number 1 thing that happens to paper as soon as it is printed. Usually whoever gets the stack of paper (because if you're just going to do one sheet, may as well just read it and display it on the computer, will tap the stack against the desk and then staple it. Pretty much if you staple something 10-20 times, it's corners become a horrible mess (my wife is a teacher, remember back to those posters stapled to the bulletin board).

Although i guess that's a feature, if you can't use staples with the paper, you save on those too.

Retraining needed (1)

zwede (1478355) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128038)

At $3+ a sheet the hardest part will be to train managers not to throw the printouts away after the meeting.

usefullness? (2, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128044)

That's great and all, but if I was keeping the physical piece of "paper" I wouldn't need to print it in the first place, and if I did need to print it, I would want it to be permanent, so I wouldn't be ever re-using the sheet. I print things either because other people need them, so I'd be giving away all my expensive plastic sheets in no time flat. Or because I need to keep a permanent copy, so I would never re-use the plastic. Many of those I didn't give away would have been cut up to make quick reference cards, labels, etc.

If they came up with a way to do this with plain paper (say some form of laser etching which required no toner/ink/film/etc) I'd be interested, but as long as it only works with it's own proprietary "paper" this is pretty much useless.

Re:usefullness? (5, Insightful)

oh2 (520684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128078)

A lot of hardcopy is only read/used once or twice and then recycled. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Re:usefullness? (1)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128304)

This is very true.. There's a bin right near my desk at work for recycling printouts that contain sensitive information. It probably holds about 5000 sheets of paper and gets emptied weekly. Plus, we pay to have it shredded by a mobile shredding service. There's also the issue of cover sheets that contain nothing but a user ID that just gets tossed right into the recycling bin.
This would be great for meetings where everyone gets a printed copy of the agenda. As soon as I get back to my desk, I have no need for it since it's all stored electronically to begin with. Almost all printed documentation becomes obsolete in a few days when you're working on a project.

True for the individual, not the office use case (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128250)

Vast numbers of trees are killed every year because office workers print out stuff for each other, then chuck them in the bin /recycle box.
 

Re:True for the individual, not the office use cas (1)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128830)

Vast numbers of trees are PLANTED every year because office workers print out stuff for each other, then chuck them in the bin /recycle box.

There, fixed that for you.

Come on, people: recycling is great and all, but it's not like trees are an endangered species... They're like Doritos: print all you want, we'll plant more! Trying to "save trees" by not using paper is like trying to "save corn" by not eating as much! If you actually reduce the consumption, the producers reduce the plantings and we end up right where we started.

Besides, throwing away paper REDUCES your carbon footprint: trees absorb carbon from the air, it finds its way into paper, which we put at the bottom of the landful, thereby "sequestering" the carbon more or less indefinitely.

Re:True for the individual, not the office use cas (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129026)

I believe it has to do with cutting down native forest (lots of biodiversity) and replacing it with plantations for making paper

Re:True for the individual, not the office use cas (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129082)

True, we're not going to run out of trees. The issue is more about the cost (both monetary and energy-wise) to produce the paper from the trees.

So, to me, the real question is: is one of these re-usable plastic sheets more efficient (both cost-wise and energy-wise) to produce than 1000 sheets of paper AND offsets the cost of purchasing and maintaining two types of printers (you'll undoubtedly still need traditional laser printers for some applications) AND the additional electricity to power both of them AND the additional trouble of keeping track of all the reusable paper?

Honestly, this strikes me as a very stop-gap solution anyhow. It seems like a temporary bridge at best between now and the time when we have ubiquitous and inexpensive access to digital pads that can completely replace printed paper altogether.

Re:True for the individual, not the office use cas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128948)

Let me help:

Innumerable living, growing tree-friends are slaughtered every single year because office workers print on tree-organs for each other, and then cast aside the remains after they've had their way with it.

Re:usefullness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128872)

At work it happens regularly that I print some information before a meeting and throw it away after the meeting (I don't have a laptop at work, only a desktop and my brain is too small to memorize all nitty gritty details).

So such a re-usable paper would be great. In stead of throwing away the sheet, I can re-use it for the next meeting.

Re:usefullness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128984)

id see great use for that in my work, we print out all the schematics and mechanical drawings cause its easier to work with these rather than jump to the nearby desk to your laptop every 10 seconds. naturally after the work is done, the printouts are just garbage. more than that company policies demand that this garbage gets disposed securely, that is we employ a company that shreds all our confidential printouts

this would kill two birds in one go for us

Re:usefullness? (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129144)

Or because I need to keep a permanent copy, so I would never re-use the plastic.

It's curious you say that... You consider a paper copy "permanent"? I've always considered the electronic copy to be the "permanent" and original document (presuming it's well backed-up), while a paper copy is a transient snapshot, something that can be handed out for easy reference during a meeting and discarded at whim, because one can always print more.

I wonder if the lack of paperless offices around the world are as much about psychology as practicality? There are probably very few cases where printed paper couldn't be completely eliminated with a bit of ingenuity and careful planning, but I think too many people don't perceive documents as real and permanent unless they're printed on paper.

Heat Pen? (1)

silverpig (814884) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128058)

For writing on these sheets with?

Re:Heat Pen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128376)

Not currently possible. The sheets are actually reset fully to black before the printer generates an image by using varying levels of heat to generate the white portions. It's a subtractive rather than additive process.
A "pen" would have to somehow emulate the process that they use to make the sheets black again..

Re:Heat Pen? (1)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128676)

So it would only have to emulate the process that turns the white areas to black. The pen doesn't need to create any white areas

No ink but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128066)

No ink but paper costs $3.30 per sheet? How is that better? Yes they say it isn't most printing done to have a "hard copy" of something? You wouldn't want to erase in that case.

Yeah (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128072)

This is nice, but misses the purpose of more than half of most printing - to distribute to other people and to mark up your own copies. If I give anyone else the sheet, it's no longer recyclable by me. If I mark up a hard copy - or just make notes while I'm in a meeting - it's no longer reuseable. What about staples?

If I've got a dozen people in my office, it would be cheaper to simply buy them each a KindleDX - and I'll never run out of paper there.

(Yes, I'm being negative today. I'm sure this has a niche - like a training center where you can update your handouts for each class, as long as thy can't take them home)

Re:Yeah (1)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128248)

The purpose isn't to eliminate copy paper all together, it's to reduce the need for copy paper when you have documents which are for a temporary purpose but require a hard copy, for example print-outs for a business meeting, or making drafts of proposals to have people look over before making the final product, or even just making originals to photocopy onto traditional paper.

Re:Yeah (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128398)

Those all sound great, until you realize-

Most people who are actually engaged in a meeting will make notes (or just doodle) on the handouts. Even if only 1 in 10 marks their sheets, you've cut the duty cycle on this paper to 1/100 of its design life (and made the sheets essentially $0.33 each).

If I give someone a draft to review, I expect it to come back with editing marks on it - in a color which stands out (like red). That will make the sheets useless.

Unless you are making a hard copy original to send to a printer for reproduction, the best copies are digital and are printed in multiples rather than photocopied. There are still some large corporations which will have a physical copy center, but even many of those have transitioned to using electronic (often PDF or TIFF) originals.

Architectural firms will print a single "original" that gets sent out for reproduction, but that's usually because it has to be hand signed or crimped with a seal (which would make the set non-reusable yet again). Electronic signatures can be used now, but at that point you could just send the digital file for reproduction.

Don't get me wrong - this is pretty cool - but I don't think it has the mass market capability at anywhere near this price point. It might be very useful in special environments like high-class clean rooms.

Re:Yeah (1)

DallasMay (1330587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128656)

Don't think office here. Think K-12 Education. As a teacher I make hundreds of copies each day. This could save school districts MILLIONS of dollars.

Wow less CO2! (0, Troll)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128086)

The Great Global Warming Swindle [youtube.com]

Fucking assholes. The printer I'm getting ready to market kills less kittens.

SO TAKE THAT!

Re:Wow less CO2! (-1, Troll)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128300)

How exactly is it trolling to point out a completely bullshit marketing point, and mock it? Get a sense of humor, or learn the facts about CO2. Maybe both.

Re:Wow less CO2! (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128308)

The printer I'm getting ready to market kills less kittens.

Fewer. Fewer kittens use less kitty litter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKlTAxTvKkY [youtube.com]

Re:Wow less CO2! (1)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128476)

"This video contains content from Sony Pictures, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

You insensitive clod.

Re:Wow less CO2! (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128820)

"This video contains content from Sony Pictures, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

You insensitive clod.

Strange, I can view both videos.

ymmv for sure (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128104)

I really wonder how much savings can be gotten here. Personally I'd estimate about 70% of my prints ends up in my archive: I only print out stuff that I want on paper for administrative reasons. For looking up later, or for tax/legal reasons.

The 30% rest is mostly misprints, and of those about half ends up in my archives again: I always attach receipts from shops to a standard A4 size paper, number them, and in future I can always find them again.

And what is still left over... well my little kid loves to draw, and I cut up a lot to A6 size for notes. Overall maybe 5% of my prints go to waste. Very little of those intentionally (as in: printed without intention to keep it).

When I had to write reports (research related) I did print out drafts, but would not use this kind of paper because writing on it with a pen if it works would kill the reusability. And being able to add annotations and other notes to such a draft was part of the reason to make the print. The article mentions manuscripts (how about above mentioned manual notes?) and circulars (anyone that doesn't use e-mail for that, maybe combined with a few prints on a notice board?) don't seem too valid to me.

Now I don't believe in the "paperless office" myth but a little prudence in printing goes a long way. This printer is a cool invention but honestly I can't really think of any large-scale applications where not printing is really not an option to save cost.

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128110)

So the plastic sheets cost $3.30 each (if you buy 1000). A ream of paper costs about $5 if you buy just one. The likelihood of actually reusing the average sheet of this stuff 1000 times is negligible (10 times would be lucky in the average business environment), especially since I wouldn't be surprised if the sheet wouldn't be usable again if it ever got folded or creased. It seems like it doesn't make economic sense.

I also don't see how this prevents CO2 emission. As I see it, paper causes CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere because trees are grown specifically to make paper. Paper is almost entirely composed of CO2 that was previously in the atmosphere. Plastic, on the other hand, is a petroleum product, and using more oil is definitely contributing to increased CO2 emissions. It doesn't really make environmental sense either.

Now it is possible that there are a few cases that it might be more environmentally friendly if an organization somehow retools itself to make perfectly efficient use of this technology, but this would be difficult, unlikely, and it's definitely not going to be cost effective.

I guess it's at least a neat idea.

Re:What's the point? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128182)

eBooks: print out your ebook onto something somewhat resembling an actual book, with real pages!

Then, when you're done, feed the pages back into the printer and print another book. It might work if it had some kind of reversible binding process that wasn't too cumbersome.

Re:What's the point? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128292)

That doesn't make much sense to me. Regular books may run from 150 to 400 pages, so you're looking at least $1000 in "paper" costs. For that price, you could purchase two Kindle DXs, or an iRex. Both of these options save you the printing time and allow you to store and view multiple books; the iRex would also allow you to make annotations.

Whereas, if you print on this special paper, you wouldn't be able to annotate or write on it, since you need to reuse the paper. That pretty much negates the advantage of printing something out in the first place.

Re:What's the point? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129172)

They are smaller pages, though, and you get four per sheet from the fold. They do, however, need to be ever so slightly different sizes and loaded into the machine in a precise order.

So yeah, way more effort than it's worth, although I can see "reusable book" kits adding circa $300 to the cost of the already expensive printer.

Easier to get a NooKindleRS-505, probably more convenient, too. Unless you're a curmudgeon who needs to have something to turn, but still wants to enjoy electronic distribution of books.

Would take a *long* time to pay for itself at current book prices, though.

That was easy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128112)

What happens when you want to staple more than one sheet together. Most things worth printing take up more than one page, and those binder clips are always bulkier and more prone to falling off than a good old-fashioned staple. But hey, as long as we're "fixing" the "problem" of finding an alternative to a fully-renewable resource...

Naysayers (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128140)

Despite the naysayers this sounds like a great addition to many offices. Lots of paper sent for recycling.

In my case that means shredding it, turning it into paper briquettes and burning it in my woodburning stove. Like free heating from the old office waste... Actually come to think of it this is a shit product, forget the running costs, look at the capital expenditure!

 

Re:Naysayers (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128378)

And with the paper cost only being $1650 per ream, just think of the paper savings. The woman in charge of the copying machine can be in charge of giving out this new paper, and I bet everybody will get to use at least 4 sheets a week.

No, it sounds like a novelty printer. The kind of thing that a V.P. gets and keeps outside his office.

Re:Naysayers (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128566)

It kind of sounds interesting in theory, but I see two big issues. One is of course price, its way more expensive then just a laser printer and regular paper for a start. The other issue is simply user behavior, can you really train your users to behave well enough that a sheet survives anywhere near 1000 prints? Even 100 reprints sounds like a stretch, yet it is not enough to make it cheaper then paper. There are also use cases where its not clear how to handle them. What is if you want to mark something? What is when you want to bundle multiple pages? You can't just staple them. And so on.

An eBook reader sounds like a much better and cheaper alternative.

Re-usable paper = wear and tear (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128146)

How easy is it to re-use plastic sheets if they've been torn, stapled, folded, dog-eared, and so on? In the real world things experience wear and tear. In most printers I'm familiar with, the paper path is fairly sensitive to these kinds of irregularities, so unless they are using something more like the bypass tray, I don't think that this printer is going to be all that reliable or fun to deal with.

False accounting? (2, Interesting)

martinux (1742570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128148)

"about 0.3 yen a sheet/number of times of rewriting."

Correct me if I'm wrong but this cost assumes you don't need to keep a hard-copy, i.e., you're printing to said sheet 1000 times.

In other words, if you never keep a copy and always reuse the sheets you'll save cash... The ratio of sheets you wish to keep to sheets you consider disposable has to be high; why else would you print something if not for long-term reference?

Also, staples?

Useful in a notice board (1)

subanark (937286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128166)

If you have a lot of notice boards (with the notices behind a window) you can use this printer to recycle old notices and put new ones up. These notices are not touched or punctured and are replaced frequently. If you only have a single notice board your probably better off just getting a flat screen monitor that displays the notices (probably cheaper given the cost).

Uh.... no. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128188)

If you ask me, I think that epaper, eink, or some other bistable and non-emissive display technology will be the way that people in the future will manage documents that aren't intended for permanent posterity.

And with the unit itself priced at over $5K, I really don't see this taking off anytime soon.

Good idea (1)

lokiomega (596833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128220)

Honestly I love this idea. I could print up a whole PDF at a time, and read it like a book or manual when I need it; all the things that are too straining to read on a monitor for any lengthy period.

Get a Kindle DX (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128434)

It looks like paper, is lighter than a full stack of these sheets, and can be rewritten a many times as you want. For about 1/12 the cost of the printer alone.

Did you notice that the printouts in the video looked a bit washed out, like it doesn't really get a good black?

I've been in the copier printer business for 30 (4, Insightful)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128224)

years, I've seen "green" ideas come and go, but still here we are 30 years later, and we are still putting ink or toner on paper. In the mid 80's, the "paperless" office idea was run up the flag pole, and friends of mine said I better look for another line of work. I just laughed. I said as long as we have a government, with regulations, we'll have paper. These idiots have to justify their jobs some how, and paper reports is how they do it. When the HIPPA laws came into being a few years ago, my work load INCREASED, just from the extra copying & printing those silly laws generated. For the past few years, I've tried until I'm blue in the face to talk people into going toward electronic filing & document storage, only to be told no, because "we've always done it with paper". It's a mind set...people don't like change and sometimes will push against change. In the early 80's, fax machines were taking off big time, but it was hard to convince people to give up messenger services and go with a fax machine. The fax was faster, cheaper than using a courier service, but, some would say "we've always had a courier". Now, I'm having the same problem getting people to give up a fax machine, because scan to e-mail is faster, and cheaper, but people say "we've always had a fax machine". People just don't brace technology sometimes. I gave up trying to change peoples minds. I show them the benefit, the cost savings, the time savings, and if they don't get it, I just let it go. Their money, not mine. Human nature......go figure.

Re:I've been in the copier printer business for 30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128404)

In an enterprise environment, computer storage is pretty expensive. Sure a 1-TB consumer hard drive is $100 now, but when you have to pay someone to administer the data, go to server-quality parts, add in RAID for redundancy, add in cost of backups in media and administrative time, it adds up quickly. I'm not convinced that electronic document storage saves money over archiving of paper copies.

We've gone electronic (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128474)

That doesn't mean we don't generate paper. I go through 500-1000LF of 36" wide paper a month, plus probably 1500-2000 sheets of letter (we only have 4 employees). What we don't do is keep the paper. Everything either gets scanned and the paper recycled, or printed to PDF and never committed to dead tree form. The savings isn't in paper and printing - it's in storage. I was looking at having to buy storage space and filing cabinets (very expensive for large format drawings). At $1-$1.50 a sheet at the service house, it was cheaper to scan and recycle than to buy cabinets and store. Two years ago we dropped $15k on a large format scanner (well, it copies and prints, too). The result is everything we've ever designed it on the servers (and backed up in two places) and at our fingertips in less than a minute, and I'm not paying for a storage unit somewhere.

Re:I've been in the copier printer business for 30 (0, Redundant)

DallasMay (1330587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128650)

You're thinking wrong. Don't think office, think K-12 education. This could save school districts $MILLIONS every year.

Re:I've been in the copier printer business for 30 (2, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128712)

Now, I'm having the same problem getting people to give up a fax machine, because scan to e-mail is faster, and cheaper, but people say "we've always had a fax machine".

Sending a fax: (1) walk to fax machine, (2) put down document, (3) enter fax number, (4) press send, and done.

Scan and send as e-mail: (1) walk to scanner (same as my fax, printer and copier so at least it has a sheet feeder, most stand-alone scanners don't), (2) put down document, (3) return to computer and open scan software, (4) scan document, (5) enter name and location to store scan file, (6) create new e-mail, (7) enter address, (8) enter subject and body, (9) add attachment, (10) remember where it was stored and how it was called this time, (11) press send, and done.

Ymmv but for stuff printed already, faxing is for me the easier option! And fax is still more of an "it just works" type of tech than e-mail is, as strange as it may sound.

Receiving faxes otoh I do in e-mail. And if necessary print them out.

And finally businesses are still expected to have a fax. That part certainly is legacy, but also because fax is such an easy and simply to use technology. As easy as the telephone. And in ease of use that can not be beaten by e-mail.

Re:I've been in the copier printer business for 30 (2, Informative)

PyroMite (1225634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31129174)

The procedure at my office would be:

1. Put down document on printer/scanner combo device's page feeder
2. Type the email address of recipient on the touch screen display on that device
3. Push send.

Benefits aside from speed and ease of use are that now the recipient has a digital copy without having to scan it themselves and in my experience the quality is pretty much always better than a fax machine.

I know you said that for you faxing was the easier option, but I don't think gp was advocating the process for you, more for people who have a device built to handle that task. Just as I'm sure you wouldn't advocate fax as the best solution to someone who only had a hand scanner and a fax modem.

I wonder... (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128230)

I wonder how long the text/images last after being printed? Also, how about making notes on the paper? (Maybe a heat pen like silverpig suggested?)

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128804)

I wonder if it will be possible to recover the previous information printed on the paper.

This could be a security nightmare.

Printing to eBook (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128256)

In any normal company, I would rather buy a large eBook reader (such as the iRex), that also has an option of annotating documents. In that way you don't have the weight of the initial expenses. And you have things like (rudimentary) search options and such. A long running tablet PC may also step into this niche. It's amazes me that many of these eBook readers don't come with a "printer driver". It would be a good way of converting documents to the right format and it would serve as a nice way of showing that the device can replace more paper than just books you buy in a store.

Re:Printing to eBook (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128792)

A virtual printer driver would be nice, but can't most OSes print to PDF (I know it's built in on OS X.)? Can't these devices read PDF?

Okay, I've just found a use! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128284)

I know, I know, I just dumped on this in a previous post - but I've found an application (at least for my office).

I deal with architectural prints which are usually D or E size (thats ~A1/A0 I believe). Often we'll have architects send us 6 or 7 revisions of 10-20 sheets for a small project. It's nice to be able to see them "full size" and make minor marks, but when the next revision comes out that set gets recycled. We could easily reuse these sheets several times. Of course, we'd need some kind of heat pen (and we usually like to use red).

Still, the cost would have to come down a lot. Since I can't send these prints out (without paying a fortune per sheet), it would have to be a purpose machine - and really only worth half of what a "real" printer would cost - maybe $2500 for a 36" wide print head. And the sheets would have to be priced noticeably favorable paper with break even somewhere this side of 20 re-printings (so about $0.25/square foot).

Still, it's a real use for this kind of thing.

I have a system that really has no consumables! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128450)

And that can be reprinted in less than 0.01 seconds. In color!
It needs no. consumables. at. all!

I’s called a display!

Paper has value (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128528)

The whole problem with this concept, is that it fails to realize is that, as seemingly insignificant a piece of paper is, it is a thing, and it does have value. This value is in its permanence. Good paper products will utterly outlive us, and that's why we use them.

It is why some people insist on a paper audit trail when we vote.

It is why we tend to like to get paper receipts and statements.

It is like even a pointless award or certificate, but printed on nice paper, can mean a great deal emotionally.

So, when you have re-usable paper, its like, you are giving back your receipt, your award, your audit trail, your gift, your thing. It creates this whole environment where you are in the office and the one thing you used to be able to get, a piece of paper from the printer, you now have to give back. It's honestly smacks of so much corporate money grubbing greed that you "hey, that good conduct award I printed... well, I need that back so I can re-use the paper...", well, you have to give your life record back to these people as well?

What a terrible invention, and a what terrible people that we have become to even think that such a thing should be invented.

Only useful for ebooks (1)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128540)

This printer is only good if your printing out e-books. You could probably end this e-book reader revolution crap with this technology. Your not going to run out of ink and once your finished with a book, you can just go to amazon and pay $9 and get to printing your new book.

To anyone who thinks this is dumb. (1)

DallasMay (1330587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128638)

This could save millions of dollars in education alone. I used to tach a science class and would make hundreds of copies every day. This could save schools millions.

Dirt/coffee/doodles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128708)

would seem to put a crimp in the 1,000x reuse, at least at my compnay....
if you go to the web site, in fractured engish ( http://www.sanwa-newtec.co.jp/english/products/rp_srp_3101_e.html ) we find the following, Quote

  "When the dirt of the sheet is awful, washing with the special sheet cleaner and a regular cleaning in the printer are necessary."

this suggests that the eco ness is a bit less then meets the eye

Great for the International Space Station (1)

cutecub (136606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128728)

... or any other isolated work environment, like a submarine, military base, etc.

But as soon as those plastic sheets start making it home in people's brief-cases and notepads, the cost of operation starts to creep up.

Its an interesting niche product that solves one problem ( consumables ) at the expense of creating another problem ( proprietary, expensive print substrate ).

-S

stupid execs (2, Informative)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31128788)

All it takes is for one management-type to keep a 100-page report on her shelf to blow your entire savings for the year.

Ridiculously high cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31128976)

The video presentation mentions that a single sheet of this so called "paper" costs 300 yen, which is around 2.5 euros. I can buy packs of 500 sheets of paper for that price and if I go for the really cheap, disposable kind then it becomes even cheaper than that. Moreover, regular paper has plenty of exotic uses such as writing on it with a pencil and/or pen. Will you do that on a 2.5 euro A4 sheet of paper?

Do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31129062)

Let's do the math and crunch the numbers. I'm going to assume "Best Case Scenarios" because that's what marketing always does. In reality, we know that's rarely the case. I just grabbed quick prices off the web, without doing a lot of price comparison. These calculations assume no discounts.

Dead Tree cost:
Laser printer: $200
2500 sheets of paper @ $21.59 x 400 (1 million sheets): $8636
Total: $8836

Renewable cost:
RP-3100 Printer: $5600
1000 sheets (up to 1000 uses each) (1 million sheets): $3300
Total: $8900

While the setup costs are high for the "green" printer, over time you can save money if you do a LOT of non-permanent printing. Also, be sure not to damage your $33/sheet paper.

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