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'Secret Agent' for Xerox Toner Helps Company Uncover More Energy Savings4/18/2006
Xerox Corporation has cut the amount of energy required to make certain types of printer toner by up to 22 percent, using a patented new process that relies on "E-Agent." Mark E. Mang, lead engineer on the development team, measures out the E-Agent ingredient, which makes toner break into particles faster during manufacturing, leading to less energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions. Xerox is the world's largest producer of toner, the fine powder fused on paper to make laser prints and copies.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 18, 2006 -- Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) has deployed a "secret agent" to help it conserve more energy.
A secret E-Agent, that is.
The E-Agent - or embrittling agent - is a special chemical ingredient that is reducing the amount of energy needed to make certain Xerox printer toner by up to 22 percent. As a result, Xerox is well on the way to saving more than 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity by 2008 - enough power to light more than 24,000 U.S. households for a year - and making strides toward its goal to cut global greenhouse gas emissions.
"The manufacturing of supplies - especially toner manufacturing - is among the most energy-intensive activities within Xerox," says John R. Laing, senior vice president, Xerox Supplies Delivery Unit. "With ongoing Xerox innovations like E-Agent, we're helping Xerox not only reduce costs but also contribute to a cleaner environment and live the values of Earth Day all year long."
Xerox is the inventor and world's largest manufacturer of toner, producing it in eight locations worldwide, including Webster, N.Y., and in Oklahoma City, Okla. Toner is the "dry ink" powder fused on paper to make laser prints and copies. In the conventional toner manufacturing process, large particles of plastics, colorants and other additives are mechanically pulverized into small, relatively uniform toner particles. It takes about 50 of these toner particles to print a period on this page.
The grinding process is the most energy-intensive step, consuming up to 40 percent of the total energy used for making toner. The "grinding" happens when toner particles are blown against each other at high speeds inside a chamber, and the collisions cause the particles to split apart.
Xerox engineers knew that if the toner particles become easier to grind, the whole process becomes more energy efficient. They discovered that by adding the embrittling agent to the toner "recipe," particles would be more likely to shatter upon contact and reach the desired particle size more quickly. Depending on the product family, E-Agent makes the grinding rate up to twice as fast.
The patented E-Agent process has been successfully implemented in toner for some Xerox products - such as the Xerox DocuPrint and DocuTech families of digital presses and printers - and is in the process of being tested for others.
By 2008, the energy savings associated with Xerox's use of E-Agent is expected to avoid over 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions - the equivalent of saving the annual emissions from over 2,500 midsize American cars.
"We believe this 'secret agent' will be one of the success stories that helps Xerox achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals," Laing says.
Xerox has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions - the compounds in the atmosphere thought to trigger global climate change - from its worldwide operations by 10 percent over a 10-year period. Xerox's emissions result from using fossil fuels and buying electricity for power. To meet its target, Xerox is working to improve energy efficiency by 30 percent compared to 2002 levels, throughout its global operations.
Xerox's pledge aligns with its long-standing commitment to the protection of the environment and the health and safety of its employees, customers and neighbors. The company has received major environmental awards worldwide, and it has pioneered conservation and protective environmental policies well in advance of governmental regulations. In addition to innovations like E-Agent, Xerox continues to develop more energy-efficient processes, products and technologies to help both the company and its customers meet their environmental objectives.