DNP Develops Plant-Based Barrier Film for Packaging Materials
Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) has developed transparent barrier film* for packaging materials using plant-based materials. By bonding this newly developed barrier film with plant-based polyethylene film also developed by DNP, it is possible to process these films into packaging materials with superior barrier characteristics against moisture and oxygen, while also reducing CO2 emitted during incineration, following disposal, by a maximum of 50 percent. Mass production will commence in September, 2011.
DNP actively promotes the commercialization of sustainable and bio-diversity friendly packaging materials. As part of those endeavors, in May the Company launched mass production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film using plant-based materials, which has earned a high reputation, including a winning a prize at the Japan Packaging Contest 2011.
DNP has gone one step further, to develop a new product, applying a barrier function to PET film, via a transparent vapor-deposit, that reduces the transmission of moisture and oxygen. This marks the first Japanese domestic example of the development of a plant-based transparent barrier film, and shipment of trial versions to domestic companies has already begun with a view to shifting to mass-production.
A decision has also been made to adopt the previously developed plant-based polyethylene (PE) film used in the inner layer of the packaging materials. As a result, DNP has completed its line up of plant-based film for the important plastic film that forms the packaging materials in soft packaging, and it has now become possible to use this material with packaging materials that require superior barrier attributes, including foods, pharmaceuticals and manufactured products. .
[Overview of DNP Plant-Based Films for Packaging Materials]
The Series is a set of products that maintain similar properties and processing suitability as petroleum-based film, while achieving reductions in petroleum usage through the partial switching out of petroleum-derived raw materials for plant-based raw materials.
In addition to reducing petroleum usage by a maximum of 50 percent, the packaging materials manufactured by combining the film in this series also cut CO2 emitted during incineration by a maximum of 50 percent. Generally speaking, plant-based film is expensive compared to petroleum-based film, but packaging materials using the Series successfully rein in manufacturing cost premiums to 20 percent -30 percent.
- PET film: The film used in the printed layer that is the upper most layer of the packaging materials. The ethylene glycol that accounts for approximately 30 percent of materials has been switched from petroleum-based sources to sugar-cane derived bio-ethanol, cutting petroleum usage by about 30 percent as a result.
- Barrier film: A newly developed product, which is a film maintaining high barrier qualities used in the intermediate layers of packaging materials. Using uniquely developed DNP transparent vapor-deposit technology to configure a transparent film (the barrier layer) on the surface, this prevents the deterioration of the contents due to moisture or oxygen.
- PE film: A film used in the inner layer of packaging materials. Uses sugar-cane derived PE to reduce petroleum usage by approximately 50 percent - 60 percent compared to petroleum-based products. This film increases sealing characteristics, strength and texture.
[Major Uses of the DNP Plant-Based Films for Packaging Materials]
The Series targets a broad variety of areas, including foods, sweets, toiletries, pharmaceuticals and industrial products.
DNP plans to sequentially switch-out the packaging materials at present supplied to the makers of food, drink, and daily goods to the plant-based series. As there is also high interest from overseas makers, DNP will also aggressively promote expansion to overseas markets. In the future, in addition to continuing efforts designed to achieve cost reductions to bring prices into line with those for petroleum-based film, the Company also plans to expand to paper containers and molded products, promoting the spread of the plant-based products.
DNP is making multilateral efforts to reduce eco-burdens, and in addition to staying abreast of CO2 emissions during the entire product lifecycle, is also engaged in joint research with Norihiro Itsubo, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Information Studies at Tokyo City University into the field that researches the impact on the ecosystem of the cultivation of the sugarcane that is the raw materials. In addition to applying the results of this research to product development, DNP will also become actively involved in the quantification of the impact on the eco-system.
The Company forecasts sales of 20 billion yen in the year ending March 31, 2016 from packaging materials using the DNP plant-based films.