January 16, 2012
In a world-first, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. has developed a commercial version of a reflective sheet with a polycarbonate microcellular foamed structure. With a reflectance ratio above 99%, the reflective sheet features outstanding reflection performance and, at the same time, as a special feature, it has outstanding formability suited to the optical design shapes for LED lighting equipment.
Year after year, there has been progress in the development of LED lighting, but in Japan the recent Great East Japan Earthquake has triggered rapid growth. The same trend is also visible outside Japan with accelerating energy conservation not only in the field of light sources, but also in the ingenious use of materials. Using our product is also linked to increased energy conservation as well as a reduction in the number of LEDs. As of spring this year, we plan to propose it to customers as the world's first commercially developed reflective sheet.
Microcellular foamed technology is a Furukawa Electric proprietary technology. We develop and sell MCPET as a reflective sheet for liquid crystal displays and lighting, but since the base material is the crystalline resin polyethylene terephthalate (PET), there are drawbacks with secondary formability. Although a non-crystalline resin like polycarbonate has outstanding formability, the problem is that it is prone to forming large voids (microscopic cavities in the body) during microfoaming. Furukawa Electric has solved this problem by extending the PET microfoaming technology to polycarbonates.
Compared to PET, polycarbonate is outstanding not only in terms of formability, but also in terms of heat resistance, flame retardance and weather resistance. Consequently, it is the optimum material for reflective sheets for LED lighting equipment where these properties are required. The scale of LED lighting has been increasing every year, and since the earthquake, we have seen a major trend toward energy conservation. This has also boosted the outlook for expanding the field of application for the straight tube LED, which was standardized in October 2010.
In the past, Furukawa Electric has also mass-produced MCPET as a reflective sheet for liquid crystal display panels and billboards. With the MCPOLYCA product (patent application and trademark application pending), we will also be making a full-fledged entry into the market for reflective sheets for lighting where we stopped at a relatively small-scale market introduction in the past. We will use the existing MCPET production line to manufacture this product. Since MCPOLYCA is also recyclable, it is an eco-friendly foam product.
We will introduce and exhibit this product at our booth at West L2-62 at Tokyo Big Sight where the LED/OLED Lighting Technology Expo (Lighting Japan) is held from January 18. Sales are planned to start in this spring.