We, Hosokawa Yoko,
are a professional group active in the manufacture of flexible packaging materials.
Rolling out of a grand vision from the past to the future
Packages are ubiquitous items seen in a great diversity of places – supermarkets, convenience stores, or drugstores. Our packages are widely used in all scenes of everyday life, ranging from cakes, food products, and medical products to products of daily and industrial use.
Packaging materials are required to have the primary functions of protecting the content and maintaining the quality of it to the use-by date and also to have the function of meeting universal design requirements in terms of their user-friendliness and ease of opening in ordinary life scenes. Another important factor is to have rich color printing of packages which appeal attractive features of products and to provide product information at the point of sale. To this end, packages are composed of a variety and diversity of materials and are subject to various forms of processing and artful contrivances being applied to it.
Hosokawa Yoko is a professional group offering flexible packaging materials with a plastic film being the main material.
Since the foundation of our Company we have risen to the challenge of many problems by understanding needs and seeds of the time and customers and responding to them with an accumulation of small contrivances. These efforts have led to the development of original technologies and original products. We have taken pleasure in creating new customer markets and are proud of our history and results of having delivered to the world a great many original products. In recent development activities, efficient utilization of natural resources and environmental protection are expected as part of efforts to contribute to the sustainable society.
In addition to the technology and experience accumulated thus far, Hosokawa Yoko is intent on offering its products to its customers with a mindset determined to continue developing original technologies and products and with the spirit of continually rising to challenges.
Commitment to the environment and leading-edge technology
~Contributing to society through the pursuit of functionality~
Commitment to technology development
We are committed to proceeding with the development of environment-considerate flexible packaging materials and to their development as commercial products. Poised to achieve a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, a worldwide concern, we are embracing a commitment towards reaching the 46% reduction in CO2 emission level by the year 2030 in relation to the level recorded in 2013, a target propounded at the Climate Summit held on April 22, 2021.
Reduction of plastic packaging material quantity
We are embracing a commitment to reducing the amount of plastics used in our packaging materials.
Development of high-strength sealants
We are committed to making our films thinner through the use of high-strength sealants. Since properties of a pouch such as sealing strength and pouch rupture strength are important factors, the nature of the sealant which constitutes the innermost layer of the film the pouch is composed of renders it impossible to simply make the film thinner. Apart from the sealing strength, it is necessary to maintain the performance features and the physical properties required for pouch-making and for the packaging and filling of and in a pouch.
The Company has succeeded in reducing the thickness to about 80% of that of conventional products while maintaining their strength by employing a newly developed PE sealant. Its use in a certain part of our products has already been commenced. The Company is committed to proceeding with the development of ultra-high strength PE sealant to further reducing the thickness.
Making injection-molded products more lightweight
Efforts are being made to achieve a more lightweight spout cap which is used in our spouted pouch CHEER PACK® products. The injection-molded spout cap has a diversity of know-how which is needed for achieving the seal tightness afforded by the spout-cap fitting and the ease of opening and needed also for meeting many other requirements such as the adhesive strength of the cap with the pouch. One disadvantage is that the quantity of plastic material required for the molded product will be greater than that required for the film. We have made repeated modifications by steadily accumulating technologies while taking different factors including how to reduce plastic amount while maintaining functionality and machine fitness during filling manufacturing for the manufacturers’ benefits as well as the ease of opening and grasping for the consumers’ benefits.
Modification of package shape
Efforts are being made to reduce the quantity of film used through devising a package shape conducive to the reduction. Pouches are made into a bag by heat seal weld-sticking of their inner surfaces. In general, the greater the part of the seal subjected to the above weld-sticking is, the greater is the strength of the pouch which necessitates a greater film surface area. This Company is making efforts to modify and improve the shape of the pouch and to also modify and improve the part of the seal subjected to weld-sticking by harnessing the technology and experience it has accumulated over long years. As an example thereof, a roughly 20% reduction of pouch surface areas has been achieved by our original spouted pouch CHEER SOFT™ through the development of a special pouch-making method, as compared with the hitherto CHEER PACK®. (＊ In case of a pouch with a 180ml volume capacity)
Transitioning to a mono-material pouch
In the interest of greater ease of recycling, efforts are being made to change over to a mono-material pouch. In general, pouch materials are required to have the function of protecting the content and to have the strength that makes it difficult for the pouch to rupture and to this end pouches are being manufactured by laminating multiple plastic film
s layers. For the recycling of these pouches it is necessary to sort them material by material and such sorting poses serious difficulty at present. In order to make their recycling easier while meeting the performance required of the pouch material efforts are being made to develop a film with the functionality of a mono-material structure and a suitable film composition.
Use of biomass materials
Taking advantage of carbon neutral features of biomass, we actively use films, plastics, inks, and adhesives made of biomass as a substitute for the films, plastics, inks, and adhesives having so far been made of petroleum-derived materials. Although there are a lot of challenges to verify including performance and cost for changing-over from hitherto petroleum-based materials, we have continued verification and made actual results as a converter while obtaining cooperation by various material companies.
The Company will offer color management that reproduces color prints by matching colors with the CMY color model process. Color reproduction without the use of special colors contributes to reducing the number of print plates required and to minimizing the print units and to reducing the quantity of ink required.
Efforts are being made to reducing the environmental impact due to printing through the use of water-base printing free of organic solvents. We are engaged in employment of organic solvent free water-base printing in many products not to speak of collection and processing of organic solvent used in conventional ink dilution process. Generally, water-base prints are difficult to dry as compared with prints made with organic solvents and they also present a high degree of difficulty in terms of treatment, in particular print reproducibility. The Company is in the position of offering multi-color gravure printing thanks to its long years of technology accumulation with regard to the coherent printing process starting with the making print plates.
Treatment of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) gases
In compliance with the Air Pollution Control Act the Company has installed VOC systems at all factories for detoxification without letting VOC gases generated in the manufacturing process be emitted from the plant in the atmosphere. Another pro-environment measures by the Company is to utilize steam vapor from waste heat generated in the VOC treatment process as a heat source in the plant.
The Gunma ujioka plant has in-house electric power generation equipment to supplement the plant’s power supply. The waste heat generated in the process of power generation in the plant is used for heating water and for generating steam for hot water supply to the plant and the air-conditioning system.
Use of plastic wastes for conversion to oil
Waste plastic conversion plant installed in the Gunma Fujioka plant where plastic wastes are converted to oil and resultant oil is used as fuel for boilers, water cooler/warmer and generators in this recycling system. Approximately one liter oil can be generated from plastic wastes of one kilogram olefin resin and about 800 to 900 thousand liters of oil are used in a year.
The origin of our name
Through the epochs of civilization and in particular in the Meiji Era when trade with the world was flourishing companies managed by foreigners were called “Yoko.” In Chinese YO (yan) means “foreign country” and KO (han) “shop”, and this, namely foreigner’s shop, is the origin of the name YOKO. Later this naming was quite widely used by Japanese companies doing business with overseas trade partners. The meaning of YOKO also widened and thus YO came to mean the wide ocean and KO coming and going (both-way journey) and thus YOKO denoted overseas trade itself and became a well-liked expression used for trading companies setting foot on the world stage. Also the company name “Hosokawa Yoko” has embedded in it the idea of the Company’s founder, Takeo Hosokawa, who took his Company’s trading with China as a starting point for the rollout of business with sights set on the whole world and considered the whole world as its partner.
Hosokawa Yoko and Hosokawa Publishing Company
Takeo Hosokawa, the founder of Hosokawa Yoko, established, in 1946, a publishing company by the name Hosokawa Shoten (Hosokawa Publishing Company) which also reflects of Hosokawa Yoko’s challenging spirit. It published some 80 books of outstanding writers and artists such as Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Yasunari Kawabata, and Shiko Munakata. The books the Hosokawa Shoten published excelled in the fact that top-quality soft washi (Japanese paper), in their superior binding, and in their content and have won many admirations from specialists. The binding system known as “French binding,” in particular, attracted great acclaim. Until its closure in 1954 it won a great renown for its particular publishing policy as a publisher.