What’s said to be world’s first bioplastic touchscreen computer was showcased at the K 2013 show in Dusseldorf by Corbion Purac, a Dutch producer of lactic acid and lactides (U.S. office in Lenexa, Kans.). The PLA computer housing was developed jointly by Taiwan’s SUPLA Material Technology Co. and Kuender & Co., which produces consumer electronics for many brands. SUPLA developed optimized, high-heat-resistant PLA compounds for consumer electronics based on lactides from Corbion Purac. These compounds were used for the high-gloss housing of Kuender’s AIO (All-In-One) PC with a 21.5-in. touchscreen, and a naked-eye 3D media player.
“It takes a lot of effort to develop a durable grade of PLA, but it can be done with a right choice of raw material,” noted SUPLA chairman Dr. Robin Wu. SUPLA balanced the properties of blends of PLA homopolymers made from different Purac lactides to achieve the necessary heat resistance, flame retardance, toughness, dimensional stability, high-gloss finish and stable processing for the monitor screens. Working closely with SUPLA, Kuender has developed expertise in injection molding PLA blends. The resulting new front and back covers of the AIO PC pass the test standards originally used for ABS.