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Fujitsu Laboratories Develops Industry's First Bio-Derived, Water-based Paint

Reduces CO2 emissions by 60% and volatile organic compounds by 80% compared to solvent-based paint

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.

Kawasaki, Japan, December 10, 2014

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., in an industry first, today announced the development of a bio-derived, water-based paint that can be used to paint the plastic chassis of servers, PCs, and other ICT equipment.

The newly developed bio-derived, water-based paint uses an emulsion of polylactic acid resin(1), derived from plants. Using reactive isocyanate(2) promotes hardening, while applying heat promotes bonding among the polylactic acid particles. Both reactions result in good film-forming performance even at low temperature. Compared to conventional solvent-based paint, the newly developed paint reduces CO2 emissions by 60%(3) and volatile organic compounds (VOC)(4) by 80%.

Fujitsu plans to expand the use of this paint in its own products, such as servers and PCs, in order to conserve resources and reduce environmental burden.

This technology will be exhibited at Eco-Products 2014, running December 11-13 at Tokyo Big Sight.


With the acceleration of global warming, reducing CO2 emissions is an urgent matter. Moreover, reduction of the VOCs that are a source of photochemical smog is also an increasingly serious issue for protecting the environment. VOCs are mostly found in solvent-based paints, printing inks, adhesives, detergents, gasoline, and thinners, and paints account for some 40% of all the VOC emissions(5).

In 2002, Fujitsu started using a polylactic acid plastic derived from corn in the chassis of its laptop PCs. In recent years, bio-based materials have been used for solvent-based paints, in addition to materials for chassis.

Solvents in paints are a major source of VOCs, so switching from a solvent-based paint to a water-based paint is an effective way to reduce VOCs. For that reason, in 2013, Fujitsu Laboratories developed the industry's first water-based paint that could be used for ICT equipment, and applied it to Fujitsu UNIX Server SPARC M10-4 and Fujitsu UNIX Server SPARC M10-4S.

Technological Issues

Switching from solvent-based paint to water-based paint for ICT equipment such as servers and PCs presents a number of challenges in terms of the required coating performance for ICT equipment chassis, specifically hardness, adhesion, chemical resistance, weather resistance, and appearance.

  • Paints using polylactic acid emulsion have poor adhesion to the base material and coated film is very weak.
  • Polylactic acid tends to degrade in the presence of water, and water will cause the film to whiten.
  • With water-based paints, the resins are dispersed in the water as microparticles, rather than being dissolved, so promoting contact and fusion of particles requires the water to be evaporated. This has required drying temperatures of 100°C or above, which is more than the plastics used in ICT chassis can tolerate without deformation.

About the Technology

Fujitsu Laboratories has worked with Mikasa Paint Company, Ltd.(6) to develop a water-based paint that uses an emulsion of polylactic acid, which is derived from biomaterials, and that offers the performance required for ICT equipment.

This bio-derived, water-based paint uses the effects of a hardening reaction and fusion to form a coating film with the high performance required for ICT equipment. Features of the technology are as follows.

  1. Hydroxyls that promote the degradation of polylactic acids in water are bonded with isocyanates into urethane, which limits this degradation to produce a tough, water-resistant coating.
  2. Minute additions of supplementary solvents (auxiliary agents) adjust the volatility of the water content, promoting the reaction of polylactic acid with isocyanate into urethane. This provides good adhesion and good film-forming performance required of ICT equipment, at a temperature low enough that plastic will not be deformed.

Required performance for use with ICT equipment
Required performance for use with ICT equipment


The use of this bio-derived, water-based paint enables a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions, thereby helping to reduce the burden on the environment. Moreover, compared to conventional solvent-based paint, VOC emissions can also be reduced by 80%.

Overview of solvent, water and bio-derived, water-based paintsOverview of solvent, water and bio-derived, water-based paints

Future Plans

Fujitsu Laboratories is continuing with R&D work aimed at color tuning and mass production, with the goal of a commercial implementation during fiscal 2016. By applying this technology to Fujitsu's ICT equipment, the company will further its initiatives for resource conservation and reducing the burden on the environment.

  • [1] Emulsion

    Two types of liquids that will not mix with each other, but where one is scattered through the other as micro-particles. Mayonnaise and milk are typical examples of emulsions.

  • [2] Isocyanate

    A compound where part has the structure -N=C=O. This carbon in an isocyanate is an electrophile that makes it highly reactive.

  • [3] Reduces CO2 emissions by 60%

    CO2 is calculated over the entirety of the developed paint's lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal.

  • [4] Volatile organic compound

    Organic chemicals that are gasses at room temperature, and disperse easily into the atmosphere. When released into the environment they cause health problems.

  • [5] 40% of all VOC emissions come from paints

    Source: Fiscal 2013 Volatile Organic Compound Emission Inventory Study Group Report

  • [6] Mikasa Paint Company, Ltd.

    Headquartered in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, President Hiromasa Terauchi

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 162,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.8 trillion yen (US$46 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu Laboratories

Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials. For more information, please see:

Press Contacts

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All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

Date: 10 December, 2014
City: Kawasaki, Japan
Company: Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd.