Japan’s Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. has developed a range of presses especially for the processing of polylactic acid (PLA), which was problematic uptil now, as per Plastics Today. The machines, with molds and processing technology supplied by a leading Japanese molding consultancy, are marketed especially for the processing of high-heat grades of PLA. Despite strong demand growth for PLA, it has so far not been specified for applications requiring high heat resistance. Injection molding grades of general-purpose (non heat-tolerant) PLA are generally used only for applications requiring stability up to 60°C. Heat-tolerant PLA can remain stable at temperatures up to 120°C; however, the additives and/or fillers used to raise the material's heat stability also affect its flow characteristics, making it difficult to fill complex or deep-cavity tooling and also leading to poor mold release.
Nissei, working with injection molding consultant Michio Komatsu, believes it now can offer a system to process even highly heat-stable PLA grades for mass-market applications. Their combined experience led to development of Nissei's new N-PLAjet range of machines, which are available in electric and hybrid (electric/hydraulic) versions. The systems already are offered in Japan.