Green Products (product initiatives)
Resource Conservation and Recycling of Products
Upgraded Recycling That Increases the Value of Materials (Application of Recycled Materials)
Konica Minolta views plastic as one of the high-risk materials due to the fact that its raw material, petroleum, is a finite natural resource, and because ocean plastic pollution has become a major public concern. In order to use post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) for MFP parts, which require a high degree of functionality, Konica Minolta is actively working on technology development to produce upgraded recycled plastic and is expanding recycled plastic use in many products.
Recycling Used PET Bottles and PC Gallon Bottles into an Outer Casing Material for MFPs
Konica Minolta has been striving to develop innovative technologies to recycle various kinds of plastic. In addition to transforming PET and PC plastic from beverage bottles and gallon jugs into exterior materials for MFPs, the company is also recycling ABS resin recovered from used game machines into inner casing materials. The company has developed technologies that ensure that the recycled plastic components have the necessary strength, flame resistance and molding usability. Now, it has taken its chemical processing technology even further. For MFP products launched in fiscal 2019, the percentage of PCR* was raised to about 70% for PC/PET plastic in exterior materials and to about 95% for ABS plastic in inner casing materials. As a result, the use of recycled materials has increased to about 25% for total resin content by weight in the MFP main body.
- Percentage of post-consumer recycling (PCR): The percentage of material collected from the market that is used in recycled raw materials.
Bizhub C360i series using recycled PC/PET
Recycling Used Milk Bottles into Toner Bottles
Konica Minolta recycles milk containers made from polyethylene and turns them into toner bottles for MFPs. It developed washing technology that removes the smell of milk and minute cells that would lead to quality degradation and established a mass production system in Mexico and Malaysia. The company has succeeded in raising the percentage of PCR in the raw material used for toner containers to 40% and intends to increase it to 100% in the future.
Toner bottles made from recycled material
Milk Bottle Recycling Process
Making Office Equipment Smaller and Lighter
Making products smaller and lighter contributes greatly to reducing raw materials use and energy consumption during production as well as environmental impact during disposal. Through technical development leveraging its core technologies, Konica Minolta is working at reducing the size and weight of its office equipment while increasing their performance. It is also actively pursuing the development of new products with low environmental impact.
Example of a product with compact design launched in fiscal 2019
Space-saving A4 color MFP designed with a small footprint
(420 mm wide and 528 mm deep)
Longer Product Life for Office Equipment
The process unit required for Electrophotographic image forming for MFP has a limited lifespan and sometimes needs to be replaced. Konica Minolta has been working to extend the life of MFP drum units, which is particularly short. With the i-Series it has achieved a 20% longer lifespan compared to a previous model (C368). In addition, by also installing a mechanism to predict when the unit is likely to wear out, the customer can now replace the unit at the optimal point and avoid any image defects.
Conserving Resources with Functional Materials
Making Thinner TAC Films to Protect Liquid Crystal Polarizers
Konica Minolta has drawn on its strengths in film making technology to make increasingly thin TAC film, which protects polarizers in liquid crystal displays. This not only reduces the weight of IT products such as note PCs and smartphones, it also reduces the materials used, thereby contributing to resource conservation.
- TAC: Abbreviation for the substance triacetylcellulose
Dramatically Improving Productivity of Polarizer Manufacturers with Obliquely Oriented QWP Film
Utilizing its proprietary optical design technology and the optical properties of cellulosic materials, Konica Minolta has developed obliquely oriented QWP film, which allows users to see the exact colors of images on display even through polarized sunglasses. Furthermore, the oblique orientation of the optical axis eliminates the necessity of cutting the film into sheets and bonding them obliquely in the production process of polarizers. This enables roll-to-roll production of polarizers, thereby helping polarizer manufacturers to drastically increase productivity. Besides enhancing display visibility when viewed through polarized sunglasses, a piece of QWP film also serves as a polarizer protection film, thus contributing to reducing the thickness of displays and the number of parts required for their production.
The image of the “Display with PET film” is an example of how an image can appear when PET (polyethylene terephthalate) film is applied on a display in place of QWP film.
Making Healthcare Products Lighter
Cassette Digital Radiography Systems
The AeroDR series of cassette digital radiography systems is compact, light, and easy to carry around. These products are contributing to the spread of digital radiography (DR), which reduces patients’ exposure to X-rays compared to film radiography and enables the immediate display of high-precision images. As use increased, so did demand for even lighter models.
Accordingly, in December 2016, Konica Minolta launched the AeroDR fine, which, at 2.6 kg, is among the lightest wireless DR detectors.* The grip was improved so that the panel can be easily held with one hand, and the portable DR is now easier to carry around.
- As of November 28, 2016, among 14x17 inch wireless portable DRs.
Diagnostic Ultrasound Systems
The SONIMAGE HS1, launched in 2014, has a large market share in orthopedics and is highly regarded in the field of anesthesiology as well, thanks to its superior quality images featuring clear delineation of muscle, tendon, and nerve bundle, and its operability.
The SONIMAGE MX1, released in March 2018, inherits the technology of the HS1, and also features new technology. It is 4.5 kilograms, 43% lighter than the conventional model. *
- Conventional model: SONIMAGE HS1
Industrial Inkjet Printers Helping Reduce Use of Natural Resources in Textile Printing Process
Inkjet Textile Printer Reducing Use of Water Resources
The inkjet textile printer does not require the plate making and colored size mixing that is needed with conventional screen-printing. It also contributes to the reduction of resources usage and waste, since it enables on-demand production that uses only the amount of ink and material needed. Compared to conventional screen-printing, it reduces environmental impact significantly, with a 97% reduction in sizing usage, and a 62% reduction in water resources usage.
Nassenger SP-1 inkjet textile printer
Inkjet Press That Saves Resources During Printing
UV Inkjet Press
Rising environmental awareness is driving demands for the field of commercial and industrial printing to break away from conventional methods where large amounts are printed and surplus is discarded. In the world of marketing, meanwhile, labels and packages for each event are being produced in small lots, and product/marketing strategies targeting individual consumers, such as including specific people’s names, is gaining ground.
Konica Minolta’s digital inkjet printer AccurioJet KM-1 produces high image quality comparable to that of conventional offset printing and can handle a wide range of printing papers. It enables production of printed matter in just the quantity needed, at the time needed, to suit the customer’s exact needs. This, in turn, reduces environmental impact by minimizing waste. This solution also helps to reduce the labor-hours needed in the printing process due to its user-friendly operability, even for unskilled workers.
UV inkjet digital printer, AccurioJet KM-1