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DNP, MPI and Sony develop smartcard using biodegradable plastics
Monday, 16 November 2009 00:00

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) Mitsubishi Plastic Inc., (MPI) and Sony Corporation (Sony) today announced the joint development of the world's first(1) IC credit card using a biobased polymer (PLA; Polylactic acid) as its primary material, and that the card has obtained permission of usage from MasterCard Worldwide.

The newly developed card uses plastic derived from biobased polymer, a substance for which there are mounting expectations as a viable new resource. Creating a biobased polymer capable of withstanding manufacturing processes such as the embedding of magnetic stripes and embossing, while also providing durability over repeated use had represented a long-term challenge, but through their joint technological development the three companies have enabled these difficulties to be overcome, and the card has successfully achieved levels of durability and reliability required by international credit card standards (ISO and JIS(2)).

46.5 percent of the card mass is comprised of biobased polymer, and with superior features such as a reduction in the use of exhaustible resources and prevention of increased greenhouse gas emissions, the card is capable of contributing to environmental conservation.

Furthermore, the card has been successfully mounted with both a contact IC chip and FeliCa(3), a contactless IC card technology developed by Sony. As a result, the card can be used as a multi-functional IC credit card mounted with applications including electronic money, point reward, and gateway controls such as company and student IDs.

With environmental conservation now a key issue on a global scale, significant business potential can be seen in the practical application of biobased polymers, especially in contactless IC credit cards which are valued for their convenience, reliability and safety. In order to use biobased polymers as a substitute material for polyester-made credit cards, the new plastic needs to function properly in any environment where current credit cards are used.

In order to fulfill such conditions, MPI developed a special design and manufacturing technology for the sheet, DNP developed special design and manufacturing technology related to the card's structural design, and Sony applied its knowledge acquired from the company's previous application of biobased plastics in Sony products and coordinated development processes including the setting of evaluation conditions for high temperature, high humidity environmental tests spanning several thousand hours.

As a result, the three companies have successfully developed a credit card using biobased polymer compatible with the ISO and JIS international credit card standards, and also fulfilled MasterCard card design standards.

Going forward, DNP together with Sony and MPI will promote a variety of businesses including FeliCa mounted multi-function IC cards. DNP will also actively promote sales to financial institutions, targeting sales of approximately 1.5 billion yen by the year ending March 31, 2012.

(1) Based on research conducted by DNP, MPI and Sony as of November 17, 2009
(2) The newly developed card is compatible with the following ISO/JIS standards: ISO/IEC 7810, 7811-1, 7811-2, 7811-3, 7811-6, 14443-1, JIS X 6301, 6302-1, 6302-6, 6303, 6304 and 6322-1.
(3) FeliCa is a contactless IC card technology developed by Sony Corporation. The card is difficult to forge/reconstruct, and allows to send/receive data at high speed and with high security. The system is also environmentally conscious since it can be used repeatedly by rewriting the data. FeliCa has been adopted for use as passenger tickets for major railroad companies in the case of "Suica", for e-money as "Edy", and for employee and student ID cards.
- FeliCa is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
- Suica is a registered trademark of East Japan Railway Company.
- Edy is the name of the prepaid e-money service provided by bitWallet, Inc.

 

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