TOKYO — JFE Steel Corporation's “Universal
Brite Type-F” film laminated steel sheet for DRD (draw-redraw) food cans
has been awarded the 2005 Technology Prize by the Surface Finishing Society of
Japan (Note 1). JFE Steel was the first in the world to develop and market this
type of laminated steel sheet, which features excellent content-release properties
(for fish, meat, etc.) and formability, and is also more environment-friendly.
Sales have grown steadily since its commercialization in 2003, primarily to major
North American can manufacturers, which has led to the awarding of the prize.
The Technology Prize honors commercial products and technologies
using innovative surface processing techniques. JFE Steel is the sole winner
of the prize in the fiscal year ending March 2006. The company last won the award
in the year ended March 2003 for its “environment-friendly, high-performance,
chromate-free, chemically-treated steel sheet,” which became the standard
in chrome-free steel sheets for electrical appliances.
Many industries are studying lamination as an environment-friendly
technology. In steel cans, lamination enables the coating process to be omitted,
which substantially reduces the CO2 emitted during manufacturing. The lack of
coatings and organic solvents further reduces the environmental load on the workplace
and surrounding community and also solves odor problems. Lamination technology
was developed with the EU's strict environmental standards in mind and
uses absolutely no endocrine disruptive substances (for example, BADGE).
JFE Steel first began commercial production of “Universal
Brite Type-F” in 2003 for salmon cans produced by major North American
can manufacturers. The material is environment-friendly and also features: 1)
easy release of fish, meat and other content thanks to improvements in the PET
film surface layer, and 2) beautiful exterior finishing with the addition of
proprietary pigments. These merits have won “Universal Brite Type-F” a
number of orders for salmon cans, one of the high-demand items in the U.S. luxury
food market. JFE Steel expects to export over 20,000 tons of the material during
the fiscal year to March 2006, primarily to large can manufacturers in North
The company also expects the material to find wider application
in North America and other markets for cans for fish, meat, vegetables and other
foods. Many food processing companies are already conducting filling tests with
prototype cans, leading to expectations of further demand.
JFE Steel continues to emphasize the development of environment-friendly
laminated sheet for food cans and many other substances. The company sees this
as the main can material of the future and anticipates its application in a wider
range of cans and content.
The Surface Finishing Society of Japan is the only academic and engineering society
in Japan for surface finishing technologies. It was established to contribute
to the development of science and industry by promoting and disseminating advances
in the theory and technology of material surface finishing. It covers surface
treatment and film formation technologies for materials ranging from metals to
semiconductors and organic resins. Membership totals approximately 3,000.