A new material made from plants and air
Watch the PLAiR video
- November 24, 2020
- Foamed PLA sheet “PLAiR” website launch
We choose plants and air
for our children of the future
The effects of global warming are visible as worldwide climate changes, and the
industrial sector urgently needs to produce and spread alternatives to fossil-derived plastic.
We want to protect the planet by using plant-based materials
PLA is a material derived from plant sugars which, when burned, does not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. It can also be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way; decomposing into water and carbon dioxide under controlled environments such as soil or compost. Furthermore, it has been proven that PLA products emit 75% less carbon dioxide than products made with other resins.*
Although an environmentally-friendly material, PLA was difficult to use in foam sheets as conventional methods meant the material didn't foam as well as petroleum-derived resins. To address this, Ricoh has utilised supercritical CO2 in its processing to develop our unique CO2 fine foam technology. This allowed our experts to create a foamed PLA sheet, known as PLAiR, which is flexible, strong and environmentally-friendly in ways that were impossible with conventional PLA.*According to “Journal of Polymers and the Environment” (Springer Nature), November 2019
Years of research into one technology
Ricoh's imaging products were the first to adopt PLA in its manufacturing materials with 50% biomass. We have since worked to expand the scope of application for highly flame-retardant biomass polymers. “PLAiR” is the culmination of years of research, development and experience in this field.
Multiple applications for all kinds of situations in daily life
Ricoh's PLA sheet is both flexible and strong, and foam expansion rate is adjustable.
We are now working to develop the offering further into a mass production solution across multiple applications - from cushioning and packing materials to disposable foodware.
Foam expansion rate: Approx. 2X
Foam expansion rate: Approx. 10X
Foam expansion rate: Approx. 25X