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Canon, Toray Develop Industry's Largest Bio-Based Plastic Exterior Part For Use In Multifunctional Office Systems


LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., October 14, 2010 – Canon Inc. and Toray Industries, Inc. today announced the successful development of the industry's largest*1 exterior part made using bio-based plastic. The part, for use in select Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE models, also achieves the world's highest level of flame retardance.*2

Plant-derived bio-based plastics, which curb increases in CO2 and decrease the consumption of oil resources, offer material properties that effectively reduce environmental burden. However, because of the technological difficulties involved in realizing the moldability and other flow characteristics demanded of large-scale parts, while at the same time satisfying external appearance requirements and high mechanical strength and toughness criteria, bio-based plastics had proven difficult to adopt for use in exterior parts, particularly due to the high level of flame retardance required of such parts.

Through Toray's material design technology, capable of controlling polymer structures on a nanometer-order scale and Canon's advanced molding technology supporting the formation of large-scale parts, Canon and Toray realized improvements in material characteristics to successfully develop the industry's largest exterior part made using bio-based plastic.

The part, which measures 640 millimeters (mm) wide by 440 mm high and weighs approximately 1,100 grams, will be used in select Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE models. In terms of flame retardance, the part achieves 5V classification under the UL 94 flammability testing program.*2 The newly developed part is approximately 11 times larger and approximately 6.5 times heavier than the previously realized largest bio-based plastic part*3 that achieved the same level of flame retardance.

Compared with conventional petroleum-based plastic, the new bio-based plastic developed by Canon and Toray offers an expected reduction in manufacturing-related CO2 emissions of approximately 20%.

This successful development achievement will enable the use of bio-based plastic in not only small-scale exterior parts in multifunction office systems and other business devices, but also for replacing large-scale exterior parts used in multifunction office systems for production printing.

Through continued technical development, Canon and Toray will work to realize further enhancements in the field of bio-based plastics with the aim of expanding the range of applications in which they can be used.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked fourth overall in the U.S. in 2009†, with global revenues of US $35 billion, is listed as number six in the computer industry on Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies 2010 list, and is on the 2009 BusinessWeek list of "100 Best Global Brands." Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. At Canon, we care because caring is essential to living together in harmony. Founded upon a corporate philosophy of Kyosei – "all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future" – Canon U.S.A. supports a number of social, youth, educational and other programs, including environmental and recycling initiatives. Additional information about these programs can be found at www.usa.canon.com/kyosei. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss.

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† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

*1 As of October 4, 2010. Based on a survey by Canon and Toray.

*2 UL 94, the Underwriters Laboratories Standard for Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances, specifies the following classifications related to materials commonly used in manufacturing enclosures, structural parts and insulators found in consumer electronic products: (in descending order) 5V, V-0, V-1, V-2, HB.

*3 An exterior part employed in Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE C9000 PRO/C7000/8000/6000-series models.