Research Content

Chemicals and Plastics

The challenge continues through changing shapes and forms

   In the business field of chemicals and plastics, we are engaged in the development of materials that match specific market demands in such fields as basic chemical products, catalysts, molding materials, and coating materials, as well as the development of processes for the efficient manufacturing of these products. The R&D activities are supported from the extensive researchers of the Corporate Research Laboratories, the Yokohama Research Laboratories and the Resin Development Center, etc.

Chemical Products

   R & D has focused on the development of the most competitive industrial process for MMA (methyl methacrylate) by new catalyst in later stage which has improved yields about the C4 direct oxidizing method. This pioneering process has achieved significant results. We have developed the technology for efficiently extracting FCC-derived low concentration isobutylene, and new facilities based on this technology are operating at our plant in Thailand. In addition we have developed new low cost manufacturing methods for dozens of monomers through the transformation of alcohols to MMA side chains. We are also applying our wide-range expertise in synthesis technologies to synthesize new monomers.

   AN(Acrylonitrile) is produced by propylene ammoxidation reaction using catalysts developed by Mitsubishi Rayon. AAm(acrylamine), an AN derivative, is manufactured using the first industrial process to employ biocatalysts. We have recently begun use of a novel process technology that dramatically improves productivity. This bioprocess provides high quality AAm at a lower cost than other industrial processes, and is now being adopted worldwide. In the near future about one-third of the AAm produced in the world will be manufactured using our process.

Functional resins

   ACRYPET, a methacrylic resin molding materials and SHINKOLITE (ACRYLITE), methacrylic resin sheets are with outstanding transparency and weatherability. ACRYPET is used primarily for construction materials, automobile, household electric appliances, optical products such as light guide plates for LCDs and optical lens. Moreover our research is focusing on the application of copolymerization, emulsion polymerization, suspension polymerization, and compounding technologies with the object of providing materials with functional properties, such as ultra-high heat resistance and high impact resistance. SHINKOLITE(ACRYLITE) is enjoying strong growth in the promising IT market, where it is used in the windows of cellular phone, PC front panels, and diffusion plates for LCD backlighting. In addition to study aimed at improvement of surface properties, we are also conducting research to improve its environmental friendliness, including technologies for conversion of waste polymers into monomers, and the construction of a recycling plant ahead of our competitors.
Diffusion plates for LCD backlighting
   The polyester resins DIANITE and TUFPET are used in films, bottles, and other container and packing materials. In addition, when compounded with reinforcing materials, modifiers, and additives, they are used as engineering plastics in electrical and automobile components. Using our exclusive copolymerization technology, we have developed a unique lineup of products with superior transparency, heat resistance and other advanced functions.

   The carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic resin PYROFIL pellet with a strength and modulus of elasticity enabling it to serve as a metal substitute. Because of its superior dimensional stability, heat resistance, wear resistance, and fatigue resistance, as well as its ability to shield against electromagnetic waves due to its high conductivity, we are developing various high functional grades for use in electrical and electronic components and in precision equipment.

   ACRYPLENE is a line of acrylic films that with their unique beautiful luster, transparency, and colorability. These films, which were developed as soft cover materials that prevent degradation of base materials by blocking out ultraviolet radiation, are available in grades from clear to non-glossy types, allowing for use in a full range of designs. They have found wide use as paint alternatives (paintless film) that contain no organic solvents, or as reflecting material in optical applications. R&D is focusing on providing them with even superior functions.
Paint alternatives
   Both CYCOLAC, as ABS resin, and DIALAC, as ASA(acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylic rubber) resin are impact resistance resins that are highly regarded as materials for use in automobiles, electrical equipment, and construction. We are also moving ahead with research on UMG ALLOY, a polymer alloy based on these resins, that when reinforced with carbon fibers will contribute to improved functionality in notebook PC casings and mechanical parts.

CYCOLAC is a trademark of the General Electric Company and DIALAC and UMG ALLOY are trademarks of UMG AMB Company.

Functional chemicals

   Coating materials are applied to materials such as metals, plastics, and paper to provide them with a variety of functions and greater added value.
   DIANAL is a functional acrylic copolymer used in a wide range of applications, including coating materials, inks, and adhesives. It has gained an excellent reputation in automotive top-coat applications, which require outstanding appearance, resistance to acid rain and scratches, durability, and resistance to chipping. The DIANAL BR series is a line of solid bead resins produced by suspension polymerization, used world-wide on a scale of 20,000 tons per year.

   Mitsubishi Rayon is actively engaged in the development of environmentally friendly materials. Our Focus on low VOC products and measures to combat sick houses has led to a number of new products such as silicone-acrylic emulsions with high weatherability for use in construction materials and non-tin antifouling paints for ships. We also developed a powder for acrylic sol as an alternative for PVC sol (polyvinylchloride sol). Because of its high functionality as an automobile undercoat, this acrylic sol is now used worldwide. We have developed resins with high flexibility and storage stability, even though they use a non-phthalate ester plasticizer. Their utilization as sol inks is now expanding. Our methacrylic resins have also attracted much attention in the IT field and other fields as calcination materials that burn out at a high temperature. In the field of toners, in addition to our main styrene acrylic resins, the DIACRON series of polyester resins, which exhibit outstanding low-temperature fusing and durability, has been growing year by year.

Coating material for CD-R
   DIABEAM and ACRYKING, which are resins cured by irradiation of ultraviolet rays (UV) or electronic beams (EB), have found use in a wide range of applications as highly functional coating materials with resource- and energy-saving properties. Our organic/inorganic hybridization technology has led to the development of RAYQUEEN, a super hard coat that has been well received. RAYQUEEN improves the scratch resistance of such products as optical disks and FPD (flat panel display). ACRYCON, which is an example of a product for non-coating applications, features excellent transparency and durability and has been used in casting and as a material for use in dental care.

   Also, our high-purity acryl polymer Lithomax for semiconductor resists has superior sensitivity and resolution, as well as capability to provide process margins and various other features. It is used in the manufacture of half-pitch 90nm and 65nm circuits, the current state of the art, for which it has been evaluated highly.

Mitsubishi Rayon is developing pharmaceutical intermediates for new drugs, exploiting the technology we have developed in cyanides, biology, and precision organic compound synthesis.

   As the needs of the market grow diverse and greater functionality is demanded, the field of coating materials has continued to grow both in Japan and across the world. We have production facilities in the US, Thailand and Indonesia, are aiming for greater worldwide market share, and are building new production facilities in China. Mitsubishi Rayon is pushing forward with even greater globalization.

   When our resin modifier METABLEN is added to a wide variety of resins from ordinary types to engineering plastics, key plastic properties such as impact strength and processability are dramatically improved. Recently, in order to decrease environmental burden, we have been researching into alloys of METABLEN, poly lactic acid (PLA, a plastic derived from plants), and our methacryl resin molding material ACRYPET . These mixtures have been recognized for their good transparency, heat resistance, and impact strength, producing superior plastics. Also, much attention has been given to fluidity modifiers we have been developing in order to meet the need for large-size or thin-walled injection molded products made with polycarbonates, whose demand has been increasing remarkably in recent years.