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05 | 2010

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Fibers | Textiles The

Fibers | Textiles The Teijin Group based in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, announced earlier this year that its BIOFRONT heat-resistant PLA based bioplastic will be used in silk crepe kimonos worn by staff at Murasaki, a Japanese restaurant operated by Kikkoman Corporation in the Japan Industry Pavilion of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. The kimono ( 着 物 ) is a Japanese traditional garment (for 着 = ‘pull on’ and 物 = ’thing’) worn by women, men and children ‘in the old days’. Today a kimono it is worn on special occasions. The material for the kimonos worn by the staff at the Shanghai Expo Murasaki restaurant was produced in collaboration with the city of Kyotango, home of traditional Tango silk crepe, or chirimen, which is known for its unique water ripple-like texture. Using special techniques developed by Kyotango artisans, Teijin‘s advanced eco-friendly Biofront fibers were interwoven with silk fibers to produce a new material that retains the beautiful texture and sheen of Tango silk crepe. Kimono silk crepe fabric using Biofront PLA (photo: Teijin) Silk Crepe Kimonos made with PLA Fibers Under the ‘Tango Biofabrics’ project launched last year, Teijin has been working with the city of Kyotango to develop new, ecofriendly applications for Biofront, by combining its advanced PLA fibers with Kyotango‘s traditional silk craftsmanship. Biofront, an environmentally friendly bioplastic (PLA) produced from plant-based feedstock, is superior to conventional bioplastics in terms of both heat resistance and durability. Its melting point of 210°C is significantly higher than the 170°C melting point of conventional PLA, which allows Biofront to withstand ironing. Other Biofront products can endure hightemperature processing, such as fabric dyeing and plastic molding. The Teijin Group also organized its own exhibit in the Japan Industrial Pavilion of the 2010 World Expo, aiming to further promote brand awareness in China, where Teijin has been operating since 1970s, as well as worldwide. MT www.teijin.co.jp/english Teijin‘s Eco-friendly BIOFRONT bioplastic worn by Japanese restaurant staff at Japan Industry Pavilion, Shanghai EXPO Kimonos worn at the Shanghai Expo Murasaki Restaurant (photo: Kikkoman) 12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/10] Vol. 5

Fibers | Textiles Photos: Philipp Thielen Proganic filaments New Filaments for Brushes The bio-plastic PROGANIC ® , award winner of the first prize for Innovation for Bio based Material and application of the Year by the nova institute, has now reached full market maturity and can definitely replace nearly all conventional plastic products. The new material is now making great headway with diversification into filaments and fibers. Furthermore, the fact that Proganic is now temperature stable to 90°C (HDT/B) without any unnatural additives makes the spectrum of possible applications nearly infinite. As countless are the tests that are currently ongoing with a number of global brands as well as one of the worlds leading food packaging suppliers. “It is our aim to diversify the compound Proganic and make it suitable for as many practical applications as possible. Since we have perfected form stability and the process for injection moulding we are well equipped to conquer most of the plastic dominated markets,” states CEO Oliver Schmid. The compound has been successfully extruded into filaments of 42 µm for use in lavatory brushes, 35 µm for dishwashing brushes and 20 µm for brooms and dustpan brushes. The rigidity of the filament makes them exceptionally durable and effective in all brush applications. The 20 µm filaments have treated by a sort of spiralling in order to increase their volume. This allows for better dust pick up and a fuller looking brush. The process of extrusion was undertaken by Hahl Gmbh, a division of Lenzing Plastics, extruders of synthetic filaments for the brush and technical textile industries. Hahl initially extruded filaments of 40, 80 and 120 µm. The rigidity and the strength show that the filaments are ideal for brushes where these characteristics are of importance. A leading brush manufacturer in Europe has now successfully inserted the 40 micron filaments into a series of newly designed brushes where all of the plastic elements have been replaced with Proganic. The new series of brushes will be launched in September/October 2010. The plan to launch the first Proganic toothbrush is also under way; however the rigidity of the filaments in this case is proving to be a drawback. The conventional plastic filaments in toothbrushes have a higher elasticity and this must replicated with the natural compound so that the brush filaments return to a vertical position. Toothbrushes are required to undergo the same rigorous testing as any food safe product so it maybe sometime in development before they are launched. Article contributed by Daniel Ridge Proganic GmbH Rain am Lech, Germany www.proganic.de Toothbrush prototype bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/10] Vol. 5 13

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