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Toner is one of the world’s least green, environmentally friendly products. It is generally produced with toxic chemicals. But Xerox, whose Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) once led the world in innovation (the mouse, PC, early version of  icon-based operation system, and many other ideas), is now, under its CTO Sophie Vanderbruck, getting a second wind. Rather than focus all its R&D efforts in one site, as it did in Palo Alto, Xerox is dispersing it, among several geographies, including Grenoble, France, and Canada, and is intensively partnering with universities around the world. Among its latest innovations: ‘green’ toner.

Xerox, world’s largest toner producer, has built a new $60 m. 100,000 sq. ft. plant near Rochester, NY to produce this product. The new product is backed by over 300 patents. According to Xerox:

In addition to producing better quality prints, EA Toner is significantly more environmentally friendly. Unlike traditional toner, which is created by physically grinding composite polymeric materials to micron-sized particles, EA toner is chemically grown enabling the size, shape and structure of the nano-particles to be precisely controlled. This Xerox-developed technology leads to improved print quality, less toner usage, less toner waste and less energy required for manufacturing and for printing. 

It is significant Xerox built the plant in the U.S. and not in Asia, leveraging the steep fall in the dollar relative to other major currencies. Xerox holds a portfolio of over 8,000 patents. 

Interviewed on BBC, Dr. Vandebroek spoke with vigor and energy about the renewed creativity at Xerox. She was appointed on Jan. 1, 2006, taking over from Dr. Herve Gallaire. Vandebroek, born in Leuven, Belgium, was previously Xerox’s chief engineer. She is 45 years old. 

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
March 2008
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