Development of environmentally friendly spandex products and launch of Roica™ EF recycled spandex in Japan

April 19, 2016
Asahi Kasei Corp.

Asahi Kasei Corp., today announces that its Fibers & Textiles SBU has developed Roica™ EF as the world’s first recycled elastic polyurethane filament (spandex) product, as well as an environmentally friendly spandex product featuring low oil content. Roica™ EF will be launched in Japan on May 1, 2016.

Led by the Roica™ brand, spandex is one of the main businesses of the Fibers & Textiles SBU of Asahi Kasei. Featuring supple stretch and recovery, Roica™ provides advanced functionality in applications such as innerwear, legwear, sportswear, and diapers. The global Roica™ supply network includes manufacturing plants in Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, and Germany.

Amid heightening concern for the environment, recycling is becoming increasingly important in the fiber industry. Spandex, which can stretch 5 to 8 times its original length, was previously considered unsuitable for recycling because of difficulty in controlling the decomposition temperature. However, Asahi Kasei’s original technology made the recycling of spandex possible for the first time in the world. Roica™ EF, made by recycling waste fiber generated in the manufacturing process, is the world’s only spandex certified under the Global Recycle Standard (GRS).*

In July 2015, German subsidiary Asahi Kasei Spandex Europe GmbH (AKSE) began supplying Roica™ EF made from 50% recycled material to well-known European apparel manufacturers that are at the forefront of adoption of environmental materials. Asahi Kasei has also received GRS certification for Roica™ EF made from over 50% recycled material at the Roica™ Plant in its Moriyama Works in Shiga, Japan. Sale of Roica™ EF in Japan is scheduled to begin on May 1, 2016, with wide range of applications including innerwear, sportswear, and outerwear expected.

AKSE has also developed Dorlastan™ V550 as an environmentally friendly spandex product featuring low oil content of 1–3% compared to the conventional 5–6%. This reduces the environmental burden of the manufacturing process in many ways, including by significantly reducing the amount of water used for scouring, the amount of scouring agent used, and the amount of electricity used. Dorlastan™ V550 has been sold in Europe since July 2015.

Roica™ EF
Roica™ EF