NEC Corp., a major Japanese electronics company, and Unitika Ltd., a major Japanese diversified chemicals manufacturer, have jointly developed a kenaf fiber-reinforced bioplastic for cell phones, it was announced on June 14, 2005.
The newly developed bioplastic has high impact resistance when dropped, and is highly moldable, both necessary features for use in cell phone cases. The production process uses kenaf fiber to reinforce polylactic acid, largely improving the heat resistance of the plastic, and then adds a specific formula of vegetable softening agents and fillers for further reinforcement. This bioplastic contains about 90 percent vegetable-derived materials, the highest level among conventional bioplastics used for electronic devices.
NEC started using a previously developed kenaf-reinforced bioplastic for manufacturing PCs in the fall of 2004. To be able to use the material in cell phones, it was essential to achieve a higher level of impact resistance when dropped, and greater moldability.
NEC has developed a test model of cell phones using the newly bioplastic, in partnership with NTT DoCoMo, Inc., Japan’s leading mobile carrier. NEC and Unitika plan to put this new material into practical use and mass production within a year or so, aiming to promote the use of this material in portable information devices such as cell phones.
(Cf. news of July 04, 2005.)
Source: LOHAS Factbook Nov. 23, 2005.