Low Energy Standby

*Figures mentioned in this article are the lowest rates for 100/120V products. Please see the detailed specifications.

STANDBY POWER CONSUMPTION - What kind of technology is this? -

Standby power is the power that is consumed even when the operation of a product with a connected plug is stopped. This occurs when power, even if it is a very small amount, is consumed for a timer or a power source control. Brother has developed a new low standby power technology, “Low Energy Standby,” in which the standby power can be very close to zero.

Comparison of Standby Power

  • Low Energy Standby Inkjet Printer

    approx 0.04W

  • Low Energy Standby Laser Printer

    approx 0.02W

  • Desk Lamp

    approx 0.1W

  • Electric Fan

    approx 0.3W

  • Television(unless high-speed startup mode is set)

    approx 0.37W

*Quoted from Energy Use Rationalization Business Support Program (Standby Power Consumption Survey) Report FY 2012(Japan)

TECHNOLOGY- What's kind of technology is it? -

Brother has developed a low standby power technology, which is applied to each type of respective printers: the inkjet and the laser.

  • Inkjet Printers*

    The capacitor is charged while the printer is operating or the printer head is being cleaned. When the power is off (during the standby mode), the flow of electricity to the power supply board and a large part of the printer is stopped to create an artificially unplugged state.

    *Some laser printers use this type of technology.

  • Laser Printers

    In order to minimize the power consumption when the power is off (during the standby mode), Brother has developed its original ultra low-capacity power supply, which is used in a dual power supply system. With this system, we achieve extremely high efficiency, which allows 1/500 the power consumption of a standard low–capacity power supply.

THE ENGINEERS' STORY- Development story -

The standby power consumption of inkjet printers is reduced to approximately 0.04W; and that of laser printers, 0.03W. Brother’s cutting-edge low standby power technology, called “Low Energy standby,” has drastically reduced the standby power consumption to much lower than the former lowest rate. For this breakthrough, engineers have become increasingly open-minded to new ideas and devoted themselves to further development, which they believe will improve future energy-saving technology. The two development teams, the inkjet printer team and the laser printer team, which had been working hard to improve the energy-saving technology for years, collaborated on this project to push the boundary of the technology by sharing ideas and learning from each other. Want to know how each engineer persisted and created a groundbreaking technology? Learn about what went on behind the scenes while developing Low Energy Standby. (Figures in this article were measured at the time of the interview.)

  • A New Common Sense around Energy Saving Technology. Taking Up the Challenge of “Zero Standby Power”.

    Inkjet Printer Developer Arimoto-san (pictured right)
    Laser Printer Developer Tsujimoto-san (pictured left)

  • Searching for a new way of thinking that exceeds the limits of the power saving technology

    Arimoto-san:
    “Let’s make a product with zero standby power.” This is our unique company concept that aims for the top level of energy saving performance in the industry. However, at first I felt it was rash. The standby power had decreased from 6.5 W to about 0.2 W in ten years due to the improvement of the power saving technology on which we worked on countless occasions since I joined the company. However, in the case of an inkjet printer, periodic maintenance of the head is necessary to maintain the quality. When the minimum necessary power is considered, the cutback of power beyond this seemed to be impossible.

    Tsujimoto-san:
    Tsujimoto-san: I felt the limits of conventional power saving technology for laser printers as well. At that time, I was informed that Mr. Arimoto and his group were working on a new development toward zero standby power, and a joint project was started. “I was secretly burning with the thought of coming up with a number that no other companies could follow if I do it.” At the same time, a development was started to install an auto off mode (a function of stopping automatically if the user did not operate for a certain period) that corresponds to the European regulation for the coming year 2013.

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  • Way of thinking of “stopping” not “reducing” electricity

    Arimoto-san:
    A new idea was necessary that would neither reduce power consumption nor increase the efficiency of the use of power in order to aim for zero standby power … an original way of thinking that did not exist in conventional power saving technology. As a result of brainstorming various ideas, we came to the idea of “stopping the electricity when the power is off.” The capacitor would be charged for only the very small amount of power necessary for restarting, and the majority of the electricity in the product would be cut off. With this, an objective could be realized at the same time of performing periodic maintenance by restarting while artificially creating a condition of power off. It may sound easy, but the development of a brand new power infrastructure was necessary in order to realize this idea. The circuit was designed from scratch, and all the parts were reselected. The modules that had been ordered from other companies were produced by ourselves etc. It was a continuous process of trial and error.

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  • Designing, testing, and evaluating were repeated to achieve the ultimate low standby power.

    Tsujimoto-san:
    In Low Energy Standby, the power consumption decreases as the number of charging cycles on the capacitor gets smaller, and the standby power can be kept closer to a zero state as the discharging time gets longer. In the case of a laser printer, periodic maintenance such as that of the inkjet printer is not necessary. Therefore, a point of the development was to repeat charging and discharging of a capacitor with good efficiency. In addition, restarting due to an operation mistake by the user also had to be considered. When the product is restarted often by unintended operations, the power consumption increases more. Ultimate specifications of a low standby power and low power consumption were investigated thoroughly while repeating designing, testing, and evaluating many times.

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  • Cooperation of two teams accelerated the realization of a new technology.

    Arimoto-san:
    The cooperation system of two teams accelerated the realization of Low Energy Standby. Because we had meetings together from the stage of determining the specifications of each product in this project, a system was investigated in detail that could be used commonly in both an inkjet printer and a laser printer.

    Tsujimoto-san:
    I think the environment also contributed, in which we could exchange opinions frequently on the same development floor. For example, we refined each other’s design specifications by discussing the situation of an inkjet printer when a problem occurred in the evaluation of a laser printer. Then, we reached one goal of the standby power of an inkjet printer “0.04 W” and the standby power of a laser printer “0.05 W.”

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  • Ever-Newer Horizons of Energy Saving Technology

    Tsujimoto-san:
    Looking back, I think we could not have reached the realization of the Low Energy Standby if we had not had the cooperation of both teams. The base of the idea in this model involves the characteristics of the inkjet printer. Therefore, I think there must be a different approach that exceeds 100% of the present status. When the Low Energy Standby that is unique to a laser printer is considered, I believe that a new horizon for power saving technology can be brought to light.

    Arimoto-san:
    The standby power can be close to zero even when the plug is not disconnected. I am proud of being able to show a new directionality for power saving technology. However, there is still some room for improvement in the technology of Low Energy Standby, and there is a possibility of applying it to all products. Our objectives are to improve this technology, to have more versatility and change the substance of power saving technology.

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  • Technology that surprises the world now and forever

    Tsujimoto-san:
    “We can surprise the world if Low Energy Standby is realized.” I tackled the development with excitement by picturing such a future. As a result, the level of the standby power of our products that we worked on outperforms that of other companies’ products by one digit. I would like to release a technology of “Made by Brother” that aims to be the top level energy saving performance in the industry in the future as well.

    Arimoto-san:
    “A product was made in which I can throw out my chest to my children by proudly saying, This printer was made by your father.” I joined Brother thirteen years ago hoping that I could do such work, and one of my dreams came true. As an engineer, I would like to create a product in which the environment is considered while supporting the progress of power saving technology from now on. There is no end to the development of technology. Low Energy Standby taught us so.

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  • AFTER STORYLow Energy Standby will continue to evolve even further.

    The standby power consumption should be very close to zero. This idea led to the development of low standby power technology, or “Low Energy Standby” for inkjet printers. Shortly after being unveiled, this technology attracted great attention as the most efficient energy-saving technology in the industry. And yet, the engineers never stopped working on improvements. They poured their enthusiasm into the development of entirely innovative technology. Finally, the Low Energy Standby technology, which was established for inkjet printers, was successfully adopted to laser printers. After many more years of hard work, this technology has been further improved according to each printer’s features.
    For reducing standby power consumption in laser printers, a dual power supply system is used, in which an ultra low-capacity power supply is installed. This highly-efficient, entirely new power supply further enhances energy-saving performance by achieving 1/500 of the power consumption of a standard low-capacity power supply.
    However revolutionary this technology is, we have not reached our ultimate goal yet. It is true that technology evolution never ends. We will continuously take on the challenge to improve energy-saving technology in the hope that someday the standby power consumption will fall to zero with an even more revolutionary technology.

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With this technology, we limitlessly approach zero watts
the state of being unplugged

Aiming at an infinite supply of
zero standby power.

  • Power Consumption*1 ··· When the power is off: Inkjet Printer approx 0.04 W*2*3 / Laser Printer approx 0.02 W*2
  • *1: Power consumption varies slightly depending on the usage environment or part wear.
  • *2: Measured according to IEC 62301 Edition 2.0.
  • *3: Even when the machine is turned off, it will automatically turn itself on periodically for print head maintenance, and then turn itself off.

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