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Epson frees Japan LCD facilities of 2-aminoethanol

Posted: 13 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Epson LCD? Japan facilities? 2-aminoethanol?

Epson Imaging Devices Corp. announced it has eliminated the use of 2-aminoethanol, a chemical substance covered by the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR), from all its Japan sites as of July 2007, making it the first LCD manufacturer to achieve this feat.

The company currently uses some 200 different chemical substances and manages them all in accordance with both legal regulations and the global push for environmental protection. Nine substances of which the company uses more than 100kg per year are categorized as Class I Designated Chemical Substances under Japan's Law for PRTR and Promotion of Chemical Management, meaning that they may damage human health and the ecosystem.

Since 2-aminoethanol was the Class I Designated Chemical Substance used most, Epson has been striving since 2003 towards eliminating this substance from its Japanese sites and from its manufacturing subsidiary in ChinaSuzhou Epson Co. Ltd (SZE). The company has put particular effort into reducing the environmental impact of its Tottori Plant, given its status as the company's main plant and its influence on overall operations. The 2-aminoethanol was completely eliminated from this plant in January.

2-aminoethanol is a main constituent of a stripping solution used in photolithography, one of the preproduction processes performed in the manufacture of LCD panels. Epson eliminated it by switching to a proprietary alternative chemical while also maintaining quality and reducing costs. This has produced major benefits, with the amount of the alternative chemical required less than half of the equivalent amount for 2-aminoethanol and the cost of the alternative also half that of the eliminated substance. In addition, the complete elimination of the substance, of which Epson used 210 tons in fiscal 2005, has enabled a dramatic reduction in overall use of PRTR substances.

Epson is also working to achieve the full elimination of 2-aminoethanol from its overseas manufacturing subsidiary, SZE, in fiscal 2008 and will make further efforts to reduce the use of chemical substances covered by the PRTR.

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