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Canon to use bioplastics in equipment from 2009

By Chris Smith
Posted 14 October 2008
Canon’s US subsidiary announced yesterday that it will begin using a newly-developed bioplastic-based compound in exterior panels on some of its multifunction office equipment from 2009.

The company will be using a compound – Ecodear - developed together with Toray Industries of Japan and based on polylactic acid (PLA).

Containing more than 25% by weight of PLA, the new compound is claimed to be the first to meet the demanding 5V classification under the UL 94 flammability testing programme.

Aside from the high level of flame retardance, the Ecodear polymer compound is also said to display good heat and impact resistance along with easy moulding characteristics.

Canon said that its initial plans are to use the resin to produce exterior panels and some internal components on a number of its multifunction office systems. It expected to use around 100 tonnes of the new compound each year.

Canon’s driver to use the bioplastic-based resin is to reduce CO2 emissions. The company estimates that replacing conventional plastics with the Ecodear compound will lead to a reduction in manufacturing-related CO2 emissions of approximately 20%.

The UL 94 standard for flammability of plastic materials for parts in appliances specifies five classifications for materials used in manufacturing enclosures and structural parts. 5V is the most severe, ranging through V-0, V-1 and V-2 to the least onerous HB.

Latest developments in the bioplastics marketplace will come under the spotlight at EPN’s Bioplastics 2009 conference in Munich in December. For more details go to www.bioplasticsconference.com

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