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Consumer Electronics

Consumer Electronics Biobased color toner Kodak achieves near 100 % biocontent with chemical color biotoner In September 2012, Kodak (Rocherster, New York, USA) entered into a joint development agreement (JDA) with Diamond Research Corporation (DRC) of Ojai, California to develop biobased monochrome and color toners for digital printers and copiers. The R&D project was implemented by Kodak scientists working in close collaboration with DRC’s Art Diamond and polymer chemist Velliyur Sankaran (San Rafael, California), whom DRC engaged as an independent consultant. Working together, Kodak contributed its ELC (Evaporative Limited Coalescence, see below) processing and toner formulation technology while DRC supplied a key source of PLA bioresin capable of fulfilling the demanding properties and specifications for a toner resin. In June of this year Kodak announced that the company had achieved more than 85% biocontent in a chemical color toner. This cost competitive, environmentally friendly product is planned to be in full-scale production by June 2015. The announcement at the Tiara Group’s 31 st annual TONERS 2014 Seminar was the culmination of this two year cooperative effort. The ELC Process In support of these auspicious goals is Kodak’s proprietary chemical process known as Evaporative Limited Coalescence (ELC). What follows is a rather basic description of the ELC process. Starting with toner components dissolved or dispersed in a volatile solvent, an aqueous phase is added that contains silica particles and/or a polymer latex. The two- phase mixture is then homogenized and a proprietary shape control agent added. Limited coalescence technology results in uniform droplet size. Upon evaporation and solvent removal these droplets are transformed into solid particles with controlled size and shape. Filtration, washing and drying results in toner particles typically 6 to 9 microns in size. The process itself is capable of producing solid or porous particles in the size range 1–30 µm. A wide variety of polymers may be processed using this technology these include thermoplastics, acrylates and polyesters. One important feature of Kodak’s ELC biotoner is its low, unit manufacturing cost (UMC) based upon the bioresin (PLA) Waste toner bio-feed Green scope Intensified de-inking plant Bio based raw materials Kodak Technology >95 % Intensified chemical plant Green scope Paper only recycled Chemical bio toner 40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/14] Vol. 9

Consumer Electronics component. This sustainable resource can be derived from harvested crops, such as field corn (not for human consumption), sugar beets and sweet potatoes, Already cost competitive with existing styrene-acrylate and polyester petrotoners, economies of scale are expected to enable Kodak, in the long term, to offer high quality, biobased chemical color toners at prices equal to or less than existing petrotoners. Migration to Chemical Process Toners Historically, Mechanically Produced Toners (MPT) dominated EP (Electronic Photography) imaging from 1960 to 2000. From 2000 forward, however, chemical processes for toner (CPT) manufacturing gradually replaced many MPT lines, especially for color toner production. Kodak’s announcement adds a whole new dimension to toner marketing, with a product that is: • Environmentally friendly • Equal to or lower in UMC (Unit Manufacturing Cost) than petrotoners • A drop-in replacement for petrotoners • Based upon a polylactic acid (PLA) resin • Compostable (PLA and waxes are compostable, 5 % inorganic pigments are inert) • Free of styrene monomer present in styrene-acrylate toners • Free of bisphenol A (BPA) used in polyester-based toners Availability Kodak`s chemical color biotoners has become available from pilot plant operations since August 2014. Sales volume is expected to ramp up, driven by Kodak’s strategic partnerships and the fact that they can offer a near 100 % biobased product close to the cost of conventional toners. Color imaging is unquestionably the largest growth opportunity in digital printing and Kodak, well recognized for the high quality of its imaging products, plans to match the demand for color biotoners by a scale-up of manufacturing to production plant level next year. Much of that growth in demand is expected to come as a result of evolving strategic partnerships such as the one recently inked with Static Control Components (Stanford, North Carolina, USA). SCC is one of the largest suppliers of toners and machine components, with sales, warehouse and distribution facilities worldwide. Acknowledgement This article is based on a more comprehensive article previously published in Recycling Times Magazine. (Photo: shutterstock/Nyvlt-art) By: Tomas McHugh Extended Materials Business Eastman Kodak Company Rochester, New York, USA (Photo: shutterstock/rawcaptured) bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/14] Vol. 9 41

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