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SDK Develops Innovative Isocyanate Monomer

May 20, 2004

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has developed the world’s first process for commercial production of a monomer containing both isocyanate- and acrylic-groups. The monomer has achieved higher speed of photo-setting compared with conventional isocyanate monomer. SDK has started sample shipments of the new monomer under the trade name of “Karenz AOI” for use in the electronics and printing industries.

Isocyanate monomers are usually added to and reacted with various types of polymers to give various functions, including photo-setting. So far, SDK has been offering “Karenz MOI” with high reactivity, containing isocyanate- and methacrylic-groups. It enables various functional compounds to set easily upon exposure to visible light, ultraviolet and electron beam. Karenz MOI has been widely used in the areas of electronics (liquid photoresist, film photoresist, adhesives, etc.) and printing (press plate, color calibration).

The newly developed Karenz AOI is unique in that the molecule of the monomer contains an acrylic group in addition to an isocyanate group, whereas Karenz MOI contains a methacrylic group and an isocyanate group. This change in chemical structure has resulted in higher speed of photo-setting: more than three times as fast as Karenz MOI and more than two times as fast as commodity acrylates. Karenz AOI was known on a laboratory scale, but its commercial production was considered very difficult.

The photo-setting technology is now essential in the processing of display materials with fine structure. Due to its ability to accelerate the speed of photo-setting, Karenz AOI is expected to help improve efficiency and reduce costs of display materials production. Furthermore, it is expected to find wider applications, including finishing agents and paints.

SDK will further develop more new grades of isocyanate monomers, aiming to achieve annual sales of ¥2 billion in 2009 from this business. Thus, SDK intends to expand the business as one the “strategic growth businesses” under the ongoing medium-term consolidated business plan, the “Sprout Project.”