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Paper Re-Use: Toner-Print Removal by Laser Ablation

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This article explores the possibility of using a laser to remove toner-print from office paper. Removal of print would allow paper to be re-used instead of being recycled or disposed into a landfill. This might reduce climate change gas emissions per tonne of office paper by between 45% and 95%. Although there is little previous research on the area, a number of related articles on paper conservation methods using laser radiation can be found in literature. Different authors have studied the effects of laser energy on blank paper and its application for cleaning soiled paper. However, this study examines toner-print removal from paper by laser ablation. In this article a laser in the visible range is applied to a single toner-paper combination with a range of energy fluences. Results are evaluated by means of colour measurements under the L*a*b* colour space and SEM images. Analysis of the samples reveals that there are parameters under which it is possible to remove toner from paper without causing significant discolouration or damage to the substrate. This means that it is technically possible to remove toner-print for paper reuse.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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