Are MFP devices sustainable?

By Marc Pillay, CEO at DEVELOP South Africa Issued by: icomm [Johannesburg, 22 March 2017]

Sustainability can be defined as operating to meet current needs, without neglecting the needs of the future and the future generations. It is crucial for all industries to prioritise sustainability, as the planet earth of tomorrow depends on how well we all care for the environment today.

Environmental issues such as climate change are becoming increasingly important and businesses are more aware than ever that sustainability is not only ecologically essential, but also critical for their reputation as a good corporate citizen. Hence, many organisations are taking environmental issues seriously and strive to develop products that also help their clients reduce their environmental impact.

Sustainability is not a simple action list; it is a continuous improvement process that requires a holistic approach to the entire manufacturing process, production, distribution and servicing operation, says Marc Pillay, CEO at DEVELOP South Africa. It's more than just using recycled paper and ink or the other input materials used to produce a given printed product. In order to capitalise on the movement and turn it into a competitive advantage, the printing industry needs an approach that is both systematic and systemic.

Printing with our future in mind puts sustainability at the top of the agenda. The environmentally friendly features of office devices often prove that print manufacturers do practice what they preach.

Promoting recycling

Previously, it was a challenge to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles as they would quickly deteriorate in comparison to virgin materials, and as a result of this, PET bottles had limited usage. However, the recent innovative introduction of polymer alloy technology to create a recycled material of sufficient strength, flame resistance, and usability for the outer casings of multifunctional office devices blends the PET available in plastic bottles with polycarbonate (PC) present in water server bottles. The resultant PET/PC plastic material is new to the industry; it promotes the effective use of the earth's limited resources, while enabling a display of improved images.

Conserving forest resources

The higher your paper consumption, the more forest resources are consumed, hence this poses a serious challenge for biodiversity. However, equipping MFP devices with features such as duplex printing, N-up printing (several pages combined onto a single sheet), proof print, preview copy and automatic skipping of blank pages can help to reduce paper consumption and save forest resources – thus contributing to efforts of preservation and protection for the world's forests.

Environmental and cost savings

An eco meter can show users what their contribution is to protecting the environment, providing information on how much toner and paper is being saved and cumulative power consumption, ultimately reducing operational costs. Additionally, this information can be displayed from three perspectives: the entire device, a departmental account or the individual user.

Easy recovery from sleep mode

In many offices, an MFP device will be 'asleep' for a lot of the working day. Sleep mode saves energy, but the key question for users is how long a device needs to recover from sleep mode. That is why an MFP equipped with a proximity sensor built into the operating panel is greatly effective. How does it work? When a user's finger approaches the device, sleep mode is automatically deactivated.

Energy-saving state

Another effective power saving feature for MFPs is energy-saving state (which is turning the panel display off) when it has not been used for a certain amount of time. However, it does not hold up everyday work because the device automatically returns to normal mode when it receives a fax or a print signal from a PC.

Lower-temperature fixing

Heat is needed to fix toner to paper and the power used for this accounts for more than 60% of a device's power consumption. So, a toner that is fixable at about 25° lower than conventional toner is a far better alternative. This proprietary polymerised toner helps to reduce power consumption and speed recovery from sleep mode.

Rapid fixing roller heating

Before printing can begin, the fixing rollers have to be heated to a certain temperature. It makes sense then to use MFPs with highly efficient induction heating technology in order to ensure rapid heating and a substantial reduction in standby power consumption.

Sustainability is a way of continuous improvement for every aspect of your business, be it from process to people to profitable. It's simple – effectively managing operational costs while protecting the environment will ensure your business is profitable and sustainable.

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