Wood-Plastic Composites: Technologies and Global Markets
The global market for applications of wood-plastic composites (WPCs), cellulosic plastics, plastic lumber and natural fiber composites is estimated at about 2.4 million metric tons in 2011. By 2016, it is estimated at nearly 4.6 million metric tons and rising at a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8%.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the history, current status and forecast scenario for four major products: wood-plastic composites (WPCs), plastic lumber, cellulosic plastics and natural fiber composites. Their four major applications are: building products, automotive, infrastructure and other consumer/industrial products. The building products segment is further analyzed by its major components, as related to these products, namely decking; fencing/windows and doors; and other.
In addition, the study further segments these markets by key resins such as polyethylene, PVC and polypropylene within each application and whether these resins are being used as plastic lumber or WPCs.
Other critical issues included in detail are technologies, production (e.g., compounding, injection molding, extrusion), use of additives (colorants, lubricants, coupling agents, and UV stabilizers), requisite properties required for each application, costs and pricing, marketing, competitive company strategies, distribution, product standards and testing, and the claims and counter-claims of companies producing these products.
Douglas A. Smock was the chief editor of Plastics World Magazine from 1986 to 1994 at Cahners Publishing Co./Reed Business Information (RBI). He also served as a senior editor of Modern Plastics at McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., associate publisher and editorial director of Modern Mold & Tooling at the McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., and chief editor of Purchasing Magazine at Reed Business Information from 2000 to 2004. Smock has been a contributing editor at Design News since 2006 in addition to serving as a materials’ analyst at BCC Research.
At RBI-US, Smock also served as co-chairman of the corporate editorial board. He is the coauthor of Straight to the Bottom Line and On-Demand Supply Management, two leading books in the field of supply management. He is the former editor of BCC Research’s newsletter, High Tech Ceramic News. Smock received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
The North American market for wood- and natural-fiber plastic composites and plastic lumber is estimated at 2.2 billion pounds and, rising at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 9.5%, is expected to reach about 3.6 billion pound by 2009.
Accepted by consumers for decking, the larger wood-plastic composite (WPC) segment will show excellent growth (9.8% AAGR).
The more mature plastic lumber market will continue to grow well, with its leading outlet being fencing.
Interior automotive products is the major application for natural fiber composites. These will rise at an AAGR of 9.9% through 2009.
PVC and polyethylenes (mostly HDPE) are the dominant resins used.