WPC Products have already been used successfully in many areas:
Wood Plastic Composite Marketing Opportunities
In recent years, the market of wood plastic composites in North America has increased greatly and attracted the interest of both the plastics and the forest products industries. These wood-based composites have been successful in the marketplace primarily because they deliver consistently appropriate structural performance at a reasonable cost.
In the building community, there is a growing demand for high-performance, low-maintenance, and low-cost building products. To meet this demand, natural fiber thermoplastic composites are being used to produce such products as landscape timbers, railing, decking, fence, window and door elements, panels, molding, roofing, and siding, even floor ,louver, and indoor furniture have been reported. Some research point that wood plastic composites have become a major player in the North American decking market. Qizhen indicate that the advantages of wood-plastic composites can cause increase demands for value-added products made from them, and the market will increase dramatically in the near future and continue to grow in long-term. Recycling may help the wood-plastic composites industry as the recycling industries prepares for their future materials and their needs.
The demand of wood pallets and shortage of solid wood provide a large market for wood plastic composites in North America and Asia region. Besides, wood pallets and shipping crates represent a large source of raw material available for use in value-add composites. Recycling and reproducing would provide good market for wood-plastic composites. Furthermore, some synthetic materials can provide additional market for recycled plastic.
The phase-out of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) may give wood plastic composites opportunities to increase awareness of alternatives to CCA-treated lumber. Kamdem et al. studied the properties of wood-plastic composites made of wood flour from CCA-treated wood and recycled HDPE.
Lignocellulosics will be used in the future to produce a wide spectrum of composite products ranging from very inexpensive, low-performance materials to materials that are relatively expensive and have high-performance characteristics. Taking advantage of the wide distribution, renewability, and recyclability of lignocellulosics, more markets will be developed for low-cost renewable materials. By chemically modifying the lignocellulosic cell wall to overcome some of its disadvantageous properties, new markets for high-performance composites will develop.
By incorporating continual new product development into a firm`s R&D process, the forest products industry can greatly benefit through increased profitability, improved customer and stakeholder perceptions, and reduced risk of litigation and regulation. Moreover, concurrent new product and market development efforts, integrating customer needs back into the design and engineering of new products, will provide competitive advantage to WPC industry innovators.
In Asia region, market for wood-plastic composites has just started recently, and has more potential than North America because of the great market demand and the shortage of wood. Especially in mainland China, market may increase with Olympic 2008 in Beijing. The constructions of civil buildings will also provide opportunities for wood-plastic composites applications.
The future of WPC will depend on many factors, including new product identification, product quality, consumer reaction, and success of research and development efforts. Success will also depend on how well the forest products and plastics industries continue to establish relationships and work with each other.