Printers and the ink that goes in them have certainly come a long way over the years. The range of products now available is vast and impressive. However, experts have not only been focussing on ways of producing text and images on paper, they have also been concentrating on methods of removing ink from documents.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed laser technology that is able to vaporise ink, turning it into a gas and ensuring the paper itself can be reused. The experts behind the project believes that devices featuring such technology may soon become commercially available, stating there will be demand for it as a way of cutting paper costs and benefiting the environment.
Dr Julian Allwood led the research team and he claimed that laser ink removal could dramatically reduce the number of trees cut down to produce paper and it may even provide a cheaper alternative to recycling.
He commented: “The process works on a wide range of toners. It does not damage the paper so the feasibility for reusing paper in the office is there.”
Dr Allwood and his colleagues believe that building a prototype of the ink removal product would cost around £19,000. However, they suggest this sum would fall as technology improves and the system is commercialised.
They also calculated that cutting the cost to £16,000 would make the device a worthwhile investment in many offices because it would reduce the need to buy paper, thus resulting in long-term savings.
Furthermore, the research team estimated that carbon emissions associated with the paper industry could be reduced by 79 per cent, while the chemicals used in recycling would be relied upon less.
If the team’s predictions are right, people may soon be heading online to source ink removal devices along with their Brother printer ink cartridges, Dell inks and so on.
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