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Ricoh Printer

Ricoh is likely most recognized as a manufacturer of digital cameras and as the signature maker of printers for offices and copy shops. However, this Japanese company doesn't only produce office communication systems, but also a large number of printers for home use. With its newly introduced printer gel, Ricoh is trying to make ink and toner for printers a thing of the past. At its founding in 1936, Ricoh, then known as Riken Kankoshi, was primarily producing light sensitive papers, like those required for the exposure of photos. Two years later, they began manufacturing cameras. The twin-lens Ricohflex II was the company's first major hit in the early 1950s. In 1955, Ricoh broke into the office machine industry with its first diazotype copier (also known as the blue-line process). Ricoh set a record for the fastest fax in the world in the year 1973, an achievement the company can look back on with a smile now. The Rifax 600S successfully sent a fax between New York and Tokyo in less than a minute, a modern miracle at the time considering that nowadays, emails with photo attachments can reach the other side of the world in seconds. The bestselling copy machine in 1975 was produced by Ricoh. In 1981, marketing of the first normal paper copier began. IN 1982 Ricoh introduced the first digital office system. By 1989, the first digital ISDN fax machine, the Rifax 7000D, made its way into offices. In 2011, Ricoh joined forces with the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, a significant partnership for larger print shops. The more noted event that year was the development of a separate photo division, achieved by Ricoh's takeover of one of its competitors, Pentax, including its camera models and name.

Products for home and office

In addition to its digital photography products, Ricoh is also well known for the development of office communications solutions, like high-volume copiers and printers, and for software solutions for mid-sized offices and larger manufacturers. Its portfolio also includes products like laser, ink and gel printers from the Aficio line for home users with high printing demands and small offices. Although the classic laser printers and ink jet printers naturally rely on toner and ink respectively, Ricoh's GelSprinter model has something new and innovative to offer. Cartridges are filled with semi-liquid gel which is then heated and liquefied. After application, the gel is immediately dried using a comparably wide printer head.

Gel vs. Ink

Ricoh's GelSprinter, like the Aficio GX 7000, produces finished prints quicker than classic ink jet printers because one needn't wait for the ink to dry. The printer can thus print more pages per minute, as there is no waiting time factored in to avoid smearing and smudging. Both text and images printed with gel printers from Ricoh offer a higher grade of resolution and clarity, as gel does not seep into the grains of the paper but remains on the surface. According to Ricoh, gel printing works on traditional paper types. Their special gel formula ensures that the gel dries immediately upon contact with the paper. Prints are said to be both waterproof and not sensitive to light, a claim that neither ink jet nor laser printers can make. At the moment, gel printing is more expensive and hasn't been overwhelmingly accepted by other manufacturers, meaning its popularity remains relatively low to date. Original gel for Ricoh gel printers, as well as traditional toner and ink for older models, can be found here.