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04 | 2008

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Electronics Contactless

Electronics Contactless ID-card (all photos Sony) Digital SLR camera a 350 body cap Sony Another pioneer in the developing and utilizing of what they call “Vegetable-based Plastics” is Sony. Vegetable-based plastics are derived from biomass, (i.e., plant matter-based resources) and are therefore considerably more environmentally conscious than regular plastics in terms of reducing petroleum consumption, controlling greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating various end-oflife options. Sony has made extensive efforts to develop and utilize vegetable-based plastics. They began using these plastics in packaging materials in 2000. Examples were a packaging film for Sony’s ‘Neige’ MD blanks and a blister wrap for a portable radio (ICR-P10). In 2002 started using them in consumer products by utilizing them in Walkman ® casings. Since then, the casings or parts of eight products in six categories and the packaging materials for two products have been made from these materials. In 2004, Sony achieved a world first by developing a flameretardant vegetable-based plastic, which was used in DVD player front panels. This achievement enabled the use of these plastics in a broader range of products. In 2006, Sony succeeded in the practical application of vegetable-based plastics to FeliCa technology-installed cards, contactless integrated circuit (IC) cards used in e- money transactions. Also in 2006, vegetable-based plastics were used by Sony’s health insurance union to produce 150,000 employee health insurance cards. Sony has also developed and, with the cooperation of suppliers, succeeded in practically applying a new technology for accelerating the crystallization of polylactic acid (PLA), which makes it easier to produce vegetable-based plastic components. This technology enables the production of highly heat-resistant molded parts in a shorter time. One of the latest product launches is the body cap of the Sony Digital SLR Camera a 350 (and others). It is made of Polyamide 11 made from castor oil, which is non-food biomass resources. www.fujitsu.com www.samsungmobile.com www.sony.com Body of Sony Walkman (WM-FX 202) 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/08] Vol. 3

Biomass CD-ROM Electronics A CD-ROM consisting of 30% PLA and 70% of a petroleum-based polymer has been introduced by Arkhe Will Co.,Ltd. of Fukui, Japan. The use of 30% PLA reduces the use of fossil resources by 25%, as Mrs. Noriko Maeda, president of Arkhe explains. In addition the hybrid material significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions. “When manufacturing the hybrid material and burning it in a waste incineration plant after use the CO 2 emissions are reduced by 53 % compared to polycarbonate, the material usually used for a normal CD-ROM (Life Cycle Inventory of the hybrid material),” says Sonoko Maeda at Arkhe Will. “During the production of the Biomass CD-ROM with the hybrid material, CO 2 emissions are reduced by 31 % (compared to a polycarbonate CD- ROM),” she adds The petroleum-based thermoplastic material is not a polycarbonate, but Arkhe would like to keep details of the material formulation confidential. The World‘s First Environmentally - The so-called Biomass CD-ROM is best suited for use in promotional (brochure) campaigns or as an installation CD, because this kind of data storage medium is used only a few times. “Although the thermal resistance of PLA is still limited, after 5 years of development our Biomass CD- ROM performs almost like a standard CD-ROM,” says Mrs. Maeda. “The Biomass CD-ROM has not yet met the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) but it is good enough for the initial applications. However, we continue our development in order to meet JIS requirements soon,” she adds. One of the major Japanese communications companies is very interested in this unique new product and has adopted it for one of its installation CDs. Follow-up orders in larger quantities are in preparation. This product is a ‘normal’ CD-ROM to be injection moulded with a glass master which contains the information (e.g. the data of the CD-ROM). A CD-R, that can be burned on a user’s PC is not yet available. The Biomass CD-ROMs are available in Japan already – in quantities from 1000 pieces. “But we can also supply CD-ROMs to the whole world,” says Noriko Meada. Conscious CD-ROM Fukui, Maruoka Castle (Photo: Mnd, Wikipedia) www.arkhe-will.jp bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/08] Vol. 3 21

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