“Flexibility” essential for a trading company,
It is a challenge that has been repeated throughout history.
Miki Sangyo was founded during the transition from the Sengoku era to the Edo era, and after 260 years of the Edo period, we welcomed the Meiji Restoration. And we have progressed with the modernization of Japan, and now we are facing a turbulent era. In our 350-year history as a trading company, we have always read the trends of the times and survived.
What is required changes with the times. For example, Miki Sangyo, which has traditionally been deeply involved in the paper industry, still has deep ties with the paper industry, including major paper manufacturers. In addition to the evolution of paper itself, new possibilities are now emerging in the substance of wood, which is the material of paper.
Focusing on the possibilities of nanomaterials,
we will work together from the development of new applications.
One of them is “cellulose nanofiber (CNF)”. It is a fibrous substance obtained by finely disentangling cellulose, which is the main component of plants such as wood, to a diameter of several to several tens of nanometers (1 nanometer = one billionth of a metre). Expectations are rising for its use as a material that not only has a low environmental impact due to its natural origin, but also can be added to raw materials to add a variety of functions.
As a specific application, CNF is said to be thixotropic, which means that when pressure is applied to a substance that is normally highly viscous, the viscosity drops and returns to high viscosity when the force is no longer applied. has good properties. Taking advantage of its properties and characteristics, it is being considered as a non-drip, storage-stable paint.
In the cosmetics field, it is applied to pump-type lotions. The pressure of the pump lowers the viscosity and increases the fluidity.
With diverse functionality
the application range of CNF is endless.
On the other hand, CNF also has a function of “gas barrier property”. Packages for processed products such as cup noodles must have a high shelf life and prevent food deterioration and odor transfer over the long term. In the trend of plastic-free, there is a growing movement to replace plastic containers with paper, but paper materials alone cannot provide these functions.
Therefore, the functionality of CNF is attracting attention. By thinly coating one side of a paper substrate with CNF, printing, and molding, he is able to create a packaging container that is made of biomass but has the same oxygen barrier properties as conventional petrochemical-derived materials. Compared to conventional products, it leads to a reduction in the amount of plastic used, and is expected to be used in daily necessities such as wraps.
From sustainable materials
towards the realization of a sustainable society.
There are also expectations for expanded use of CNF in the fields of automobiles and electronic materials. CNF also has the ability to improve the strength of solid products such as plastics and rubbers. In the automotive industry, there is a growing movement to replace conventional metal parts with lighter weight parts in order to achieve a carbon-free society. However, it is essential to ensure strength in order to ensure safety. CNF is expected to be a next-generation material that can solve these problems.
The range of CNF utilization has many possibilities depending on the ideas. It can be said that CNF is the material with which Miki Sangyo’s “flexibility” is tested.
Japan is one of the world’s largest forested countries, with 67% of its land covered by forests. Forest resources, which can be regenerated by planting trees and also lead to the fixation of CO2, are expected to be further utilized in the future. Miki Sangyo, which has a long history in this country, continues to take on challenges.