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News Releases 2010

New Elastomer Possesses Transparency, Softness and Adhesive Properties
Concerning Full-Scale Development of Acrylic Thermoplastic Elastomer Business
Unique New Material That Transforms into the Future Makes Long-Awaited Debut

March 30 2010
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

Kuraray has announced its decision to establish facilities at its Niigata Plant in Tainai City, Niigata Prefecture that will be capable of mass producing 5,000 tons of an acrylic thermoplastic elastomer ("the New Elastomer") annually.
The New Elastomer, which has been developed utilizing Kuraray's proprietary technology, possesses transparency and softness, as well as adhesive properties. These characteristics are utilized in the optical and molding material fields, which are demonstrating great potential for market growth.
As it undertakes full-scale development, Kuraray is targeting a business scale for the New Elastomer of ¥10 billion in sales in 2018.

The New Elastomer

  • A block copolymer of methyl methacrylate (MMA) and butyl acrylate (BA)
  • A thermoplastic elastomer possessing both MMA's transparency and weather resistance as well as BA's elasticity and adhesive qualities
  • A unique material developed through the proprietary technologies of Kuraray, the first company in the world to successfully achieve its commercial production
  • One of Kuraray's "new materials that transform into the future" that meet needs not met by existing materials

Background to Full-Scale Development

  • Kuraray has already commercialized the styrenic elastomer, SEPTON, and the thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer, KURAMIRON.
  • Furthermore, since fiscal 2004, Kuraray has constructed a pilot plant for the New Elastomer and moved forward on achieving market development and manufacturing technologies.
  • From a market standpoint, Kuraray has received feedback in three fields: adhesives; film as well as light guide components; and molding materials. From the mass production standpoint, having overcome difficulties, the decision was taken to fully develop the business and establish a facility with an annual production capability of 5,000 tons.

Overview of Full-Scale Development

(1) Initial Target Fields and Main Applications

Target Fields Main Applications Remarks
(i) Adhesives film and tape application Solvent free,
Non cross-linking process
(ii) Film, light guide components Light guides such as LED lighting Combines both
transparent and elasticity properties
(iii) Molding materials Body of electronic devices, gaskets and grips Design, adhesive and paintability properties

(2) Production Facilities

Address 2-28, Kurashiki-cho, Tainai, Niigata 959-2691, Japan
Production capacity 5,000 tons
No. of employees Approx. 20
Schedule August 2011: Completion of facility expansion
September 2011: Commencement of operations
Capital investment Approx. ¥5 billion

(3) Outlook

Having made progress with the development of new applications, Kuraray is aiming for sales of ¥6 billion in 2015 and ¥10 billion in 2018.

Light Guide Light Guide

Transparent and elastic molding sheet Transparent and elastic molding sheet

Niigata Plant Niigata Plant

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