Printer manufacturer scales production of plates made from foamed PLA / Trays for frozen meals
Can also be thermoformed (Photo: Ricoh)
German printer manufacturer Ricoh (Düsseldorf, plans to roll out the production of foamed PLA plates it started in Japan to Europe this year. “We want to work with both converters and recyclers, but we are also interested in other companies that want to produce the material in Europe under licence,” said Philippe Wolff, business development manager at Ricoh, at this year’s K trade fair in Germany. According to Wolff, the aim is not to import raw materials or a finished product from Asia, but to establish the entire value chain in Europe.

Ricoh is currently operating a pilot plant in Numazu, Japan, with a capacity of 15 t/y. Regular industrial-scale operation with an annual capacity of 1,000 t/y is scheduled to start at the plant in a few months. “We had to invest a lot in development work because PLA does not foam as well as oil-based alternatives,” Wolff said.

The PLA sheets, which will be marketed under the PLAiR brand name, are to be made available in widths of 1,000 mm and thicknesses of 1 mm to 3 mm. Applications include food containers for frozen foods that can be heated in the microwave, trays for takeaway, ready meals or coffee lids.

The bottom line is that using the material can help processors or food companies reduce their carbon footprint. “PLA is a material that is derived from corn starch, can be recycled materially or chemically, or can be broken down into water and carbon dioxide in an industrial compost,” Wolff added.

In the pilot plant, PLA products had produced 34% less CO2 during their life cycle than conventional products made of polystyrene, Wolff emphasised. This is to be improved even further on an industrial scale, according to the company.
12.12.2022 [251415-0]
Published on 12.12.2022
Ricoh: Druckerhersteller rollt PLA-Platten-Produktion auf Europa ausGerman version of this article...

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