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 Thermochromic film applications, such as prepaid cards,
 expected to get a boost in U.S.
 WEST CALDWELL, N.J., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Two leaders in thermochromic (TC) film production have signed a cross-licensing agreement that is expected to attract new interest in thermochromic film for use in a variety of emerging applications including prepaid consumer cards, Ricoh Company, Ltd. and Erasable Thermographic Imaging Products (ETIP) GmbH have agreed to exchange the non-exclusive rights to utilize the other party's TC film production technology patents. In addition, both parties agreed to license the technology to other interested companies.
 Ricoh has applied for over 200 patents covering materials and practical applications in this field in Japan, and has registered more than 10 of these in the U.S. and Germany. By cross licensing with ETIP, which holds basic patents in the U.S., Germany and Canada, Ricoh's U.S sales efforts should gain momentum. Because the agreement will facilitate the use of this technology in Europe and the United States, the two companies have agreed to collaborate in cultivating new markets, including granting licenses to interested companies.
 TC film is a recording medium in which high quality images can be both printed and erased simply and repeatedly through the application of heat. An inexpensive erasable recording medium, the film is expected to find use in a wide range of industrial and office equipment applications.
 Environmentally friendly TC film can be freely written and erased repeatedly with the application of heat from a thermal head or similar device. Offering 400 dpi resolution, it is an ideal material for data displays because of its easy processing and ability to render to its transparent state. TC film can be rewritten about 500 hundred times.
 TC film turns white at temperatures over 100 degrees Celsius and can be rendered transparent between 75 and 100 degrees Celsius. When all the data is erased from its surface, the clear paper can be used as output for a thermal printer.
 A good example of a TC film application would be a prepaid card that always displays the amount remaining. The reusable properties of such a card make it suitable for commuter passes, admission tickets, accessing and parking cards, video rental cards, game center cards, etc. Other applications include displays, such as online information boards, reusable overhead projection sheets and message windows.
 Ricoh TC film is currently being used in Japan in a variety of prepaid card applications. The primary advantage of cards utilizing the film is their ability to display changing data such as dates, actual balances and other numbers which get updated. As there is no need to punch holes or add more numbers, the functionality of the card is greatly improved.
 Systems employing bar codes are popular in point of sale (POS) labels and factory automation (FA) operations. In most cases, printed bar codes are disposed of after being used once, but Ricoh TC bar-code film enables repeated use of the printed codes, cutting costs and contributing to environmental preservation.
 Ricoh Company, Ltd., the parent of Ricoh Corporation, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of chemical supplies for office equipment. The company has invested over ten years in the development of advanced technologies for TC film and its processing equipment, and is engaged in a major campaign to commercialize TC film products.
 Ricoh Corporation, a U.S. company headquartered in West Caldwell, N.J., is a diversified office equipment and electronics firm with sales of nearly $1 billion annually. Ricoh is a leading supplier of copiers, facsimiles and multi-functional document systems that are sold both directly and through dealers. The company also markets scanners, printers and optical and magnetic storage devices, as well as photographic equipment.
 -0- 10/20/93
 /CONTACT: Emil Florio of Ricoh Corporation, 201-882-2075; or Cliff Bernstein of Robert Wick Public Relations, Inc., 212-727-2500/

CO: Ricoh Company, Ltd. ST: New Jersey IN: SU: LIC

DH -- NY061 -- 4591 10/20/93 12:40 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 20, 1993

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