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NEC strengthens and expands the use of "NeCycle(R)" bioplastic - Bioplastic for use with gas station fueling systems -

*** For immediate use June 30, 2014

"NeCycle(R)" bioplastic that enhances durability   Comparison of chemical resistance
"NeCycle(R)" bioplastic that enhances durability Comparison of chemical resistance

Tokyo, June 30, 2014 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) and Kao Corporation have jointly developed a flame-retardant polylactic acid composite (flame-retardant bioplastic) with the world's highest plant component ratio (over 75% of the organic material in the composite is polylactic acid) and superior durability in terms of chemical resistance, light resistance, and surface hardness.

NEC has enhanced the bioplastic's performance through a unique formula that adds flame retardants like aluminum hydroxide and charring agents together with other special improving agents to polylactic acid, the main component (biomass-based polymer) of NEC's bioplastic "NeCycle(R)" In so doing, NEC is the first to achieve a bioplastic with durability that exceeds flame retardant petroleum-based plastics used in conventional consumer electronic devices such as personal computers.

NEC's bioplastic has excellent chemical resistance to gasoline and strong alkali cleaners, etc., surface hardness, light resistance and dimensional stability (non-expansion/shrinkage). These features allow its application as a highly durable plastic for the distribution, transportation, medical and financial fields, which require exacting specifications.

Having achieved this superior durability, NEC has begun applying the bioplastic for internal components of outdoor gas station fueling systems (made by NEC Infrontia: Note 1), which require reliable chemical resistance in particular.

NEC has been a pioneer of bioplastic development since 2000. In 2007, in collaboration with Kao Corporation, NEC developed an unprecedented high-performance, flame-retardant bioplastic with a high plant component ratio using polylactic acid as the main component. Beginning 2010, NEC has progressively introduced this material across six product groups, including NEC's business desktop computers and commercial payment terminals.

"This flame-retardant polylactic acid composite (bioplastic) is designed for the highly durable plastic market, which has more demanding specifications," said Dr. Masatoshi Iji, Research Fellow, Smart Energy Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation.

"By adding flame retardants like aluminum hydroxide and charring agents, plus other special improving agents to our main component, polylactic acid, NEC made a unique formula that maintains high flame-retardant properties while incorporating new durability features like chemical resistance, light resistance, surface hardness and superior antibacterial properties. This makes a wide range of applications possible throughout fields that require high durability."

Gasoline fueling systems have traditionally used highly-durable petroleum-based plastics with excellent chemical resistance, among other properties. Resulting from its latest developments, NEC's bioplastic may now be used with internal components of gasoline stations' outdoor fueling equipment. This has been accomplished by dramatically enhancing the bioplastic's oil resistance to gasoline, kerosene, etc.; its chemical resistance to strong alkali cleaner and ethanol used for disinfection, etc.; as well as its dimensional stability.

Features of NEC's New Flame-retardant Bioplastic
Chemical resistance After immersion testing in strong alkali solvent, there was no cracking/discoloration. Oil resistance to gasoline, kerosene, etc., was strengthened. Chemical resistance is equivalent to or greater than that of current highly chemical resistant petroleum-based plastics.
Dimensional stability after immersing in reagent After immersion testing in gasoline (7 days), the dimensional change rate (non-expansion/contraction property) was less than 1/3 of petroleum-based plastics used in conventional indoor-use consumer electronic devices.
Light resistance In irradiation testing, the discoloration rate was less than 1/5 of petroleum-based plastics used in conventional indoor-use consumer electronic devices.
Surface hardness Approx. "H" pencil hardness (equivalent to pencil strength. Conventional petroleum-based plastics are B-F)
Anti-bacterial properties By enhancing anti-bacterial properties, a 99.99% sterilization rate was achieved after treatment with water, light, and detergent in bacteria test (JIS Z2801).

Based on the "NEC Group Environmental Management Action Plan" (see Note 2) announced June 2010, NEC is working toward using bioplastics in all of NEC's major products by 2017.

NEC aims to expand use of its bioplastics for facilities and equipment supporting the infrastructure in a wide range of industries, including distribution, transportation, medicine, and finance, while contributing to the creation of a convenient and sustainable society through green information and communications technologies.



(Note 1) Company name changed to NEC Platforms on July 1, 2014

(Note 2) NEC Announces Group Environmental Management Action Plan 2017/2030

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