A Japanese company announced an important new application for a proprietary bioplastic in the healthcare field.
Boston Club Co. (Fukui, Japan), is now using Biofront, a heat-resistant bioplastic from Teijin Chemical, in its Japonism series of eyeglasses. The eyeglasses will be marketed by Boston Club and sold in its directly owned shops in Tokyo and other retail stores nationwide. Boston Club says it expects to sell 2,000 pairs of the environmentally friendly eyeglasses annually.
It’s the second major eyewear application for bioplastic in Japan, which tends to make more use of bioplastics in durable applications than other countries.
Tanaka Foresight Inc., which manufactures and sells approximately 60% of all plastic eyeglass parts in Japan, is using Biofront eyeglass frames in its Katherine E. Hamnett line.
Biofront is a proprietary polylactic acid that is more expensive than the cellulose acetate materials typically used for eyeglass frames. Other materials used to make eyeglass frames include cellulose proprionate, nylon, and polycarbonate.
Teijin believes its PLA is worth the extra cost for performance reasons. It says that contact with cosmetics or hair-styling products can bleach acetate, which also tends to warp under high heat, and in some cases it can cause skin rashes.
Teijin said in a press release: “PLA has been used for nose pads because its antibacterial properties help to prevent rashes, but conventional PLA has not been used for parts such as frames and temples because of insufficient heat resistance.”
Teijin says that Biofront has a melting point of at least 210ºC, “which is significantly higher than that of conventional polylactide (PLA) bioplastic.” Biofront is also said to be highly resistant to bleaching and bacteria, has good hydrolytic stability and achieves semi-crystallization in just 20–25% of the time required by conventional PLA.
Teijin’s current capacity to compound Biofront is 1,000 metric tons per year.