Earlier this year Canon Copiers reported on Canon’s amazing research and development achievements, with the company’s successful development of bioplastic parts for photocopiers, MFP’s, network printers and the likes, alongside its partner company, Toray, one of the world’s leading polymer material developers. Well now, Canon and Toray have taken that development effort one step further and were able to announce last week the successful full-scale manufacture of the largest ever exterior copier/photocopier part made from part plant-derived organic bioplastic. The part, which will be incorporated into the build of select imageRUNNER Advance copiers/photocopiers/network printers/MFP’s, also manages to achieve the world’s highest standards in flame retardance.
What are Bioplastics?
Bioplastics are part plant-derived plastics which are able to significantly limit the output of CO2 and the consumption of scarce fossil fuels which would normally occur in the typical production process for most plastic materials. But the major difficulty with bioplastics has been ensuring they possess the same material properties as conventional plastics. For use in the manufacture of Canon’s range of photocopiers, network printers and MFP’s, this means ensuring that bioplastic is readily moldable, offer the various other flow characteristics at the manufacturing stage which are demanded of large scale parts, while also being able to satisfy certain external appearance requirements, as well as mechanical functionality and toughness criteria. For these reasons, in the past, its proved difficult to use bioplastic in the exterior parts of photocopiers, particularly due to the high level of flame retardance which is required with photocopiers, MFP’s and network printers.
The Latest Canon/Toray Photocopier/MFP Bioplastic
Using Toray’s advanced materials design technology, which is able to control polymer structures on a nanometer-order scale and Canon’s highly advanced molding technology, which enables the manufacturer of much larger parts, Canon and Toray, in collaboration, have been able to realise sufficient improvements in materials’ characteristics to successfully develop what is to-date, the largest ever exterior part for a photocopier/MFP/network printer made using bioplastic.
This new largest-ever, bio-based plastic photocopier/copier part measures 640mm by 440mm and weighs approximately 1,100 grams. It will be used in Canon’s flagship range of imageRUNNER Advance copiers/MFP’s/network printers.
As for flame retardancy, the new part for copiers/photocopiers achieves 5V classification under the UL 94 flammability testing programme. Also, when this newly developed part is in fact around 11 times larger and approximately 6.5 times heavier than the previously realised largest bio-based plastic part that achieved the same level of flame retardance. Comparing this Canon/Toray developed part with conventional petroleum-derived polymers, this new material offers an expected 20% CO2 manufacturing emissions reduction.
Through this technological development, Canon and Toray have been able to ensure that a much higher proportion of plastic components in their photocopiers/copiers/MFP’s/network printers can be manufactured from bio-based plastics – not just the smaller scale exterior parts in photocopiers for example, but also even the larger-scale exterior panels for example which collectively constitute a significant proportion of a photocopiers kilogram mass.
Both Canon and Toray hope that their so far very fruitful working relationship will be able to realise even greater improvements in the field of bioplastic development, expanding the range of suitable applications from photocopiers/copiers, MFP’s and network printers to much, much more.
Canon’s multi-award-winning imageRUNNER Advance range of copiers/photocopiers, MFP’s and network printers incorporating the Canon/Toray bio-based plastic part are available from all leading Canon Business Solutions Partners.