Toray Develops Eco-friendly PET Film


Toray Industries, Inc., announces that it has developed a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film that combines excellent applicability and adhesion for water-based and solvent-free coatings and can eliminate solvent-derived carbon-dioxide emissions.

The company looks to produce the film at a domestic plant by end-March 2024 to help popularize eco-friendly film products for which decarbonization during manufacturing is desirable. These items include release, adhesive, printing, packaging, and automotive films.

The environmental impacts of organic solvents in regular PET film processing have become problematic in view of global warming becoming a prime issue in recent years as a result of air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.

This situation has driven the development of coatings free of such volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as toluene, xylene, and ethyl acetate. Such coatings eliminate carbon dioxide emissions derived from solvents. Advances include coatings in which water replaces these compounds in mold release agents, adhesives, and printing inks, as well as solvent-free versions employing monomers to dilute ingredients.

Still VOC-free coatings have downsides. They include appearance defects such as peeling when applied on PET films. Other issues are poor adhesion between coated layers and PET films after drying, resulting in lifting and peeling that reduces durability.

Toray’s new PET film has both good applicability for water-based paints and good adhesion to films after it is dried. This was achieved by forming an ultra-thin layer with nanosized dispersion of hydrophilic components with high affinity to water and hydrophobic components with high affinity to the resin on the surface of the film.

This film has demonstrated outstanding applicability and adhesion for an array of water-based offerings from paint manufacturers.

Coating and adhesion is also excellent with solvent-free coatings, which are also VOC-free. PET film processing generally emits carbon dioxide from coating and drying printing inks, release agents, and adhesives, as well as from consuming electricity in curing, releasing organic solvents into the atmosphere through incineration, and disposing of solvent effluents and waste. The film makes it possible to use VOC-free paints and thus eliminate the carbon dioxide emissions associated with organic solvents.

Toray’s new technology is also compatible with Ecouse® Lumirror™ offerings employing recycled PET materials. Ecouse is a brand for recycled materials and products that Toray began rolling out worldwide in 2015. Lumirror is a biaxially oriented polyester film. The company can help lower environmental impact by providing total solutions for PET film manufacturing through processing for printing, mold release, adhesion, and other coatings.

Under the Toray Group Sustainability Vision and “TORAY VISION 2030”, the company helps to resolve environmental, resources, and energy issues through business. It will continue to develop advanced materials to materialize its corporate philosophy of contributing to social progress by delivering new value.

—Press Release