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Toray Launches Full-scale Commercialization of 'Ecodear' Polylactic Acid (PLA) Film.

Tokyo, Japan, Apr 5, 2006 - (JCN) - Toray Industries, Inc. announced plans March 27 to launch full-scale commercialization of the polylactic acid (PLA) films and sheets. PLA is an environment-friendly material made from plants.

Toray has succeeded in solving the quality and cost issues unique to PLA and making it commercially viable. Initially, the company will install a mass production facility for PLA sheet at its South Korean subsidiary and begin full-fledged promotion of 'Ecodear' film as the group's universal PLA brand.

Toray will build a production facility with annual capacity of 5,000 tons of non-oriented, or NO, film sheet at Gumi Plant 3 of Toray Saehan Inc. (TSI), its South Korean subsidiary, for mass production. Capital investment will be around 1 billion yen and the plant is expected to start operations from January 2007.

Materials being used for takeout food containers are being rapidly replaced by biomass plastic in South Korea. Toray intends to ensure the quick expansion of the business by capturing the pioneering South Korean market through exploitation of advantages in local production while simultaneously promoting new applications in Japan, where the move towards adoption of biomass plastic is gaining momentum.

At the same time, in order to ensure the advancement of PLA film business, Toray will focus on developing highly functional products. The company plans to introduce a series of high value added products into the market by exploiting its 'revolutionary nano-alloy technology', which allows combinations of multiple polymers on a nano-metric scale and brings out the most optimal characteristics of the material.

In addition to heat and impact resistance equivalent to petroleum-based plastic films, the technology for achieving flexibility and high transparency also has been established, and the company is currently offering the materials and samples for evaluation to its customers.

Toray, going forward, will promote adoption of the material in wide-ranging applications from sheets for molding that require heat and impact resistance to films for packaging and industrial uses that require flexibility.

With an eye on the full-scale growth of the PLA film market, Toray plans to prepare itself for a series of production capacity upgrades both in Japan and abroad to expand the business and aims to achieve group sales of 25 billion yen in 2010.

While Toray has already introduced 'Ecodear' as both fiber and resin products, the company believes the material's full-scale entry into the film field, where a huge demand is expected in the future, would add momentum to its environment-friendly advanced materials business.

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Publication:JCNN News Summaries
Date:Apr 5, 2006
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