Toray Advanced Film to Roll Out Self-repairing Film

Apr 6, 2012
Shinya Saeki, Nikkei Electronics
A mockup of a black mobile device to which the new film is attached. In a demonstration, scratches made by a metal brush were repaired in about three seconds. Repair time increases at low temperatures, Toray Advanced Film said. This picture was taken after the scratches were repaired.
A mockup of a black mobile device to which the new film is attached. In a demonstration, scratches made by a metal brush were repaired in about three seconds. Repair time increases at low temperatures, Toray Advanced Film said. This picture was taken after the scratches were repaired.
[Click to enlarge image]

Toray Advanced Film Co Ltd will begin to sell the "Self-cure Coat Film," which can self-repair small scratches, in earnest.

Thus far, the company has been supplying the film for a limited number of applications such as decorative films for notebook computers. But it established a volume production system for the film, planning to expand the use of the film to decorative films on the surfaces of mobile devices, films for the protection of the surfaces of touch panels, etc.

"We aim to achieve sales of ¥2 billion (approx US$24.3 million) in 2014," Toray Advanced Film said.

The Self-cure Coat Film is made by using a wet coating method to form a layer that has a self-restoring function and is called "self-repairing layer" on the surface of a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) film.

"Because the self-repairing layer has a high viscosity and elasticity as well as cushioning characteristics, it self-repairs minute scratches," Toray Advanced Film said.

Though the company did not reveal the details of the materials used for the self-repairing layer, it said, "We made improvements to materials that are said to have a self-restoring function. We analyzed the mechanism of repairing scratches and applied it to the design of the film."

The thickness of the PET film is 125μm or less, and that of the self-repairing layer is several tens of micrometers. And their thicknesses can be changed at user's request.

Repair time of 10 seconds or less

One of the features of the Self-cure Coat Film is that it repairs scratches faster than other self-restoring films.

"At room temperatures, scratches disappear in 10 seconds or less," Toray Advanced Film said.

Because of its high formability, the self-repairing layer of the film is not cracked or peeled off even when it is extended by 100% or more, the company said.

If a part deeper than the self-repairing layer is damaged by a knife, etc, the film cannot repair itself, Toray Advanced Film said. The pencil hardness of the film is HB-F, which is lower than those of hard coated films.

"We will provide the new film or hard coated films depending on whether priority is put on repair of scratches or resistance to them," the company said.

In regard to the durability of the film, the company said, "We confirmed that there is no problem by testing it about 20,000 times in succession."

The total light transmittance and haze of the film are 90% or higher and 1.0% or lower, respectively, which are not inferior to those of normal hard coated films, Toray Advanced Film said.

The company will mass-produce the film at a rate of several hundred thousand square meters per year at its Fukushima Office by using its existing facilities. It will exhibit the film at the 3rd Highly-functional Film Technology Expo, which will take place from April 11 to 13, 2012, in Tokyo.