13 March 2012
13 March 2012
A new report by Hackwell Group forecasts continuing growth of the European wood plastic composites industry to almost 360,000 tonnes by 2015, which represents an average annual growth of 13%, but nevertheless a slowing in growth compared with the 2005-10 period, as a result of the continuing difficulties in European economies.
According to Hackewell, decking is the largest application area with 75% of (non-automotive output), but the arguments for using WPC in other exterior and interior applications are strong. Much of the predicted growth is still expected to be in construction applications, most of which will be extruded. They say that important end-uses within the construction sector, besides decking, include siding or cladding, fencing and window applications. Hackwell report that Germany, France and Belgium are amongst the most significant WPC producing countries in Europe and what these manufacturers anticipate most eagerly are other high-volume applications besides decking.
Hackwell explain that injection moulded products have been successfully used in diverse end uses including paper manufacturing applications and musical instruments, as well as vehicle and shoe parts, whilst various other processing technologies have been adopted in the automotive sector, which takes 30% of output. They say furniture components offer considerable potential for WPC in the medium term and a number of products have already been successfully marketed.
The study forecasts that diluting expensive resin with wood flour will become of increasing economic benefit. Furthermore, it says the end products are environmentally friendly, largely free from rot and do not need painting. They are also machinable like wood and have many practical advantages including competitive whole life costs.
Cobra International is celebrating its 40th year and has commissioned a book that will look at 40 key projects and 40 key people that were integral to the company’s growth. ‘Klaus Simmer and The King Cobra: A breakthrough in surfboard design and production technology’ is an extract article from this book and a breakthrough composites product for Cobra, establishing its presence as a manufacturer of high performance windsurf boards and creating global visibility for the Cobra brand.
Fibrelite reports that since the start of its partnership with Trenwa more than 100 precast trench systems integrating Fibrelite composite covers have been sold for use in electrical substations, wastewater treatment plants, chemical refineries and many other applications across North America.
University of Southern Queensland (USQ)’s composites research and development was on display when the Centre for Future Materials (CFM) held its inaugural Open Day.