Zeon Expands Production Capacities
Production Increase of Retardation Film for LCD TVs and of High-Transparency Thermoplastic Cyclo Olefin Polymers (COP)
Duesseldorf (Germany) 26 October 2015 – Zeon Corporation - leading and globally operating specialty polymer company - has announced plans to further boost their production capacities. Zeon’s retardation film for LCD TVs ZeonorFilm™ will extend its production at its optical film plant in Himi City, Toyama Pref., Japan. "The facility will build a sixth production line, which follows the completion of the fifth line that began mass production in February of this year," said Hubert Thimm, Commercial Director of the Zeon Europe GmbH. "Once the sixth line becomes operational in January 2017, the plant’s total retardation film production capacity will increase by 24 million m2 to a total of 119 million m2 per year." In addition, Zeon has already started expanding the annual production capacity at the Mizushima Plant for ZEONEX® and ZEONOR® Cyclo Olefin Polymers (COP), a high-transparency thermoplastic resin, from 31,000 tons to 37,000 tons.
ZeonorFilm™: retardation film for LCD TVs
Retardation film is the key component of LCDs that enables a wide viewing angle (the anterior angle of the area in which images on a display appear normal) and contrast optimization, both of which are essential for LCD TV image quality. The demand for Zeon’s ZeonorFilm™ is increasing due to the excellent optical properties it possesses: high transparency, low birefringence, low wavelength dispersion, low photoelasticity, and outstanding dimensional stability owing to low water absorbency and heat resistance.
In recent years, the trend for increasingly larger size TVs and advances in high definition technology such as 4K TVs have continued to boost demand for Zeon’s ZeonorFilm™, which offers excellent optical properties and exceptional dimensional stability. Because the LCD TV market is forecast to remain on a steady growth path, Zeon will continue to meet the market’s demand with this period of capacity expansion.
ZEONEX® and ZEONOR®: Cyclo Olefin Polymers (COP)
For COP, with its product names ZEONEX® and ZEONOR®, Zeon has started expanding production capacity to meet the growing demand. Major applications are in markets such as printers, LCD televisions, smartphones, digital cameras, and primary pharmaceutical packaging. The decision is also due to the prospective business development of a new material based on Zeon’s proprietary molecular design. The expansion in production capacity is scheduled to be completed in April 2016.
ZEONEX® and ZEONOR® are fully amorphous and highly transparent thermoplastic resins. The balance of outstanding water barrier properties in combination with high purity, excellent chemical resistance, high transparency and no interaction with drugs place ZEONEX® and ZEONOR® as a perfect alternative to glass or other plastic solutions for vials, syringes and other customer-designed drug containers. Due to the non-polar, hydrophobic and non-reactive nature of the surface, there will be no interaction with the pharmaceutical drugs inside the prefilled container. ZEONEX® and ZEONOR® can be sterilized using steam autoclave, electron beam, gamma radiation and ethylene-oxide gas. Other handling benefits of ZEONEX® and ZEONOR® versus glass include their low specific weight and excellent shatter resistance. A recent development is the introduction of multilayer vials to market. These constructions combine the excellent water barrier of ZEONEX® and ZEONOR® with high oxygen barrier and additional mechanical strength from other polymers like polyamides. Another major benefit of plastic containers versus glass containers is the freedom of design.
ZEON Corporation is the world leader in specialty elastomers, polymers, and specialty chemicals. ZEON is one of the top producers of polymers in the world, operating a global network of plants in Asia and North America, and research and development laboratories in Japan, USA, China, and Singapore. With almost 70 years in business and consolidated sales of ca. US$ 3 billion, ZEON has both the experiences and the expertise in C4 and C5 chemistry to offer a wide range of world class products. ZEON employs over 3.300 people worldwide, with global headquarters in Tokyo and regional sales offices all over Europe, America and Asia. “We realize the importance to have a close partnership with (potential) customers worldwide. Therefore, our resources in sales and technical service always put big effort in technical cooperation to bring positive impulse to our customers. Then, together we will find the optimum solution,” Hubert Thimm, ZEON Europe Commercial Director explains.
While ZEON is continuously settled in the traditional global elastomer business (60% of total business), the specialty material business is seriously built up and has been growing significantly. ZEON specialty materials will provide material solutions for the future world in terms of sustainable energy sources, electromobility, digitalisation and media, as well as modern lifestyle and health care.