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Sustainability sounds great

Sony audio, considering the environment

Under our Road to Zero and Green Management 2025, Sony is targeting a 10% reduction in the amount of virgin plastic used per product (excluding packaging) compared to FY2018. For over 10 years in audio, we have been improving the performance of recycled materials and using them in our designs.

Our continuing drive for superb sound and sustainability

Overcoming acoustic challenges with recycled materials

The sound quality of early recycled plastics was inferior to that of virgin plastics, and achieving performance that met our exacting standards with recycled plastics took years of effort and innovation.

Successful commercialization of a soundbar using recycled materials

By testing various combinations of recycled materials and additives, and repeatedly evaluating prototypes, in 2016 we succeeded in developing a recycled plastic with acoustic performance as good as virgin plastic. This plastic was first used mainly in internal components of our soundbars, such as the HT-XT2 and the HT-NT5.

Building recycling into our product design

After many trials and prototypes, these recycled plastics have been used in a wide variety of products, including for internal parts in some of our TV products and high-power audio systems like the MHC-V13.

Creating new and advanced recycled plastics

We continue to develop new recycled plastics, to further increase their performance and expand the usability of recycled materials in our product designs.

Our latest development success is a new recycled plastic material which meets the requirements of flame retardance, color stability and acoustic performance, making it suitable for an even wider range of parts in our future audio products.

A new flame-retardant recycled plastic

Flame retardance, required in electrical products, represents a significant challenge for recycled materials. Our new recycled plastic offers both high flame retardance and substantial use of recycled material.

Color consistency and variation

Product designs should be visually appealing without compromising product quality and performance, but color consistency is a significant challenge with recycled plastics. We are developing new recycled plastics to be transparent and homogeneous, enabling easy coloring with a consistent color tone and making many types of color variation possible in future products.

Pursuing high-quality sound

Different materials “sound” different. The key to introducing newly developed recycled plastics into products is how closely they can be made to approach the sound of existing materials. Through engineering the acoustics and structure while repeatedly evaluating the sound quality of various materials, we were able to achieve sound quality as good as that of existing materials.

Engineering the subwoofer of the HT-S400

The new recycled plastic material was introduced in the sub-woofer rear panel of the HT-S400. This part is required to be flame-retardant, making it ideal for the deployment of the new material.

Engineering internal parts of the SRS-XE200 and the SRS-XE300

New wireless speakers, the SRS-XE200 and the SRS-XE300, also adopted the recycled plastic for internal parts.

Accelerating Sony’s sustainable audio

We will continue to develop recycled plastics that deliver high-quality sound, and to increase the use of recycled materials across a wide variety of our home and portable audio products. Our persistent innovation will bring you the highest-performing products, built with the environment in mind.

Interviews

Yuko Fujihira

Sony Corporation, Home Entertainment and Sound Products Business Group, Home Product Business Division, Home Product Technology Department

We have been working on the use of recycled plastics in home audio since around 2010. While improving their performance to a level that matches that of virgin plastics we worked on design aspects and made these recycled plastics usable in actual products. In 2016 we developed a recycled plastic, used for internal components in our products, which also takes sound quality into account.

However, further expansion of the use of recycled plastics required that we expand the scope of their application. The material that we have newly developed on this occasion is flame-retardant. During the development process, we pursued the idea of how closely we could approach the sound quality of the materials we used previously. By examining many configurations, repeatedly prototyping and testing strength, we were able to create a material that satisfied the sound quality and physical requirements of the product.

Tomoya Kato

Sony Corporation, Home Entertainment and Sound Products Business Group, Home Product Business Division, Home Product Technology Department

First, we developed a recycled plastic, focusing on the sound of the actual material itself. Aiming for a good-sounding material free of unpleasant or muddy tones, we repeatedly tested the sound of speakers made from recycled plastic while changing configurations.

The finished recycled plastic tends to be quieter than virgin plastic. Therefore, even after the recycled plastic was finished, a variety of design measures were necessary in order to use it in products. For example, to achieve an appropriate sound when it is molded into components, we optimize the thickness of the molded plate, rib structure and so on, to control resonance. In addition, the driver unit has been designed to give a light feeling. As a result of these measures, individual sounds that were buried can now be heard, leading to increased sound resolution.

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Footnotes

  1. Recycled plastics may not be used for the part depending on the time of production.
  2. Features and specifications are subject to change without prior notice.
  3. ©2020 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sony, EXTRA BASS, BRAVIA, and BRAVIA CORE and its logos are trademarks of Sony Corporation. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners. Features and specifications are subject to change without notice.