This latest press release from lactic acid producer Corbion Purac reported some of its partnerships as well as recent product developments for polylactic acid (PLA)-based plastics. There is definitely a lot of recent developments and improvements for using PLA plastics and I’m jealous that I won’t be able to see and hear most of them, which will be presented at the K Plastics and Rubber International Trade Show that started today in Dusseldorf, Germany.
On this press release, Corbion Purac finally released the name of its Asian PLA partner, Taiwan-based SUPLA, which has contracted Corbion Purac for the supply of its PURALACT lactides to a 10 ktpy PLA polymerization facility somewhere in Asia (I am still looking for information on this). The facility is expected to start operation in the second half of 2014. The target market for SUPLA is on high heat PLA for durable and demanding applications such as automotive and electronics part.
In fact, SUPLA said it has developed optimized PLA compounds for the consumer electronics industry based on Corbion Purac’s lactides, and recently launched the world’s first bioplastic touch screen computer developed in cooperation with Kuender, a leading Taiwanese OEM/ODM of consumer electronics for many brand customers. The high gloss housing of the computer is made from high-heat PLA. In addition to increased heat resistance, the PLA blends used for the monitor screen reportedly also bring improved impact resistance, excellent high gloss finish and stable, precise processing.
Another company, Os Tech Co. Ltd. based in Japan has reportedly developed interior part for printers made with PLA. The company, alongside Corbion Purac, will also be demonstrating speakers made from PLA that said to offer improved acoustic performance during the K Show.
Here are examples of PLA applications that Corbion Purac will highlight at the show:
- Automotive – Corbion Purac is displaying PLA-based air filter box and interior trim parts for the automotive industry supplied by Roechling Automotive. The parts have been produced using high-heat PLA compounds based on Corbion Purac’s lactides under the trade name Plantura.
- Sporting Goods – European PLA producer Synbra Technology BV and its partner TECNIQ, a developer of expanded rigid foam technology, have created the world’s first certified 100% biodegradable and 99% bio-based surfboard foam under the trademark BIOM. The foam is produced in a patented process that uses sugarcane biomass-based PLA provided by Corbio Purac, polymerized by Synbra and expanded into rigid foam by Synprodo. The expanded PLA foam is reportedly similar to expanded polystyrene foam and can be used for foam packaging and insulation panels.
- Carpets – Corbion Purac has partnered with Desso, Bonar, Peter Holland and Synbra to develop a fully bio-based, reyclable, Cradle to Cradle carpet tile.
- Film Packaging – Corbion Purac announced a partnership with Innovia Films to jointly develop polylactic acid (PLA) film that is both transparent and resistant to higher temperatures.
- Coffee Cups – Huhtamaki is introducing a high-heat PLA coffee cup that can replace single-use PS coffee cups. Wingram will showcase high-heat resistant PLA lids for hot drink cups.
- Fibers & Non-wovens – Yangtze Labre is launching a range filaments and non-wovens based on PLA.