Sekisui Plastics Co. Ltd. of Tokyo is trying to diversify the worldwide marketing of its foamed PET sheet product. With $700 million in annual sales, Sekisui is the largest maker of expanded polystyrene sheet and EPS beads in Japan, but recently has been trying to increase interest and acceptance for its foamed PET packaging, dubbed CelPET.
``Designed and formed properly, it offers significant reduction in packaging size, minimizes the use of materials and facilitates use on automated packaging lines,'' said Kazuo Sato, manager for overseas planning.
The foamed PET currently is used in food and microwave trays, clamshells and other thermoformed packages.
Sato, based in Tokyo, admitted that markets for foamed PET have developed slowly. The company makes about 44,000-66,000 pounds of the product per month, compared with the 9.9 million pounds per month of both EPS sheet and EPS beads it makes at its 10 Japanese plants.
Sato hopes that marketing CelPET as a packaging material in applications such as electronics, cameras and clamshells is the way to expand the market. He also is interested in using recycled PET in CelPET.
``As long as the supply of recycled PET can be kept high quality, and the inherent viscosity kept at high levels, the properties are virtually the same as virgin resin,'' he said.
He said Sekisui is looking for U.S. firms to sell CelPET in the United States.