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Technical Report #19 - Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic ...

Technical Report #19 - Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic ...

Construction Materials:

Construction Materials: The construction industry is a major user of wood-plastic composites,especially those made with recycled plastics. The construction industry likes woodplasticcomposites for their increased stiffness and reduced thermal expansion when compared tounfilled plastic products like plastic lumber, and for their perceived increased durability andmuch lower maintenance when compared to wood.The most common construction products are wood-filled plastic lumber, or woodthermoplasticcomposite lumber. In decreasing order of sales volume, four manufacturers ofthese products are Trex, ChoiceDek by AERT (Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies),Master Mark, and Duraboard. Eaglebrook Products in Chicago entered this market in1999.Decking. As mentioned previously, much of the wood-filled plastic lumber is used fordecking, and other products made specifically for decking are also rapidly gaining popularity.For instance, Crane Plastics manufacturers a product called TimberTech, which is a wood-filledplastic composite made with a very precise tongue and groove configuration. Strandex licensesseveral manufacturers to produce a similar precision profile, but with higher wood content thanTimberTech. All of these systems are extremely durable, stiffer than unfilled plastic lumber, andmore wood-like in their approach to marketing.Industrial flooring. Both Choice Dek and Trex are used for industrial flooring. Traditionally,creosote treated oak blocks have been used around heavy manufacturing equipment likedrop forges and large punch presses. The durability and vibration absorption properties of woodplasticcomposites are very useful in this application.Windows and doors. AERT also sells product into the window and door industry. Becausethe AERT product is not a precision profile, it must be run through a molding machine justlike a regular piece of wood. In this fashion, the AERT material finds its way into thresholds,lock blocks, and door rails. About 50% of AERT’s production is used this way. This material iscalled MoistureShield and is similar to ChoiceDek in composition.Crane also markets its TimberTech product to window and door manufacturers. It is intendedto be wrapped in aluminum or PVC for environmental protection and ornamentation.Strandex licensees target the same market. C.W. Ohio in Conneaut, Ohio makes and sells windowlineals made from wood-filled HIPS compound supplied by a custom compounder. The linealsthey make are hollow and filled with polyurethane foam for better insulative properties.Andersen Windows dominates the use of wood-filled PVC for window and door lineals.With several patents granted and more pending, coupled with their sales volume, Andersen is aformidable competitor in this area. Nevertheless, Mikron Industries in Kent, Washington is aggressivelyselling and marketing a wood-filled plastic PVC alloy licensed from a Japanese firmto Andersen’s competitors.Shingles. Re-New Wood, Wagoner, Oklahoma, is a manufacturer of wood-filled PVCshingles. The shingles are made to imitate wood shakes, a traditional roofing material. Re-NewWood does its own compounding and then injection molds the shingles. The shingles are wind,rain, and hail resistant and are sold in 30 states.24

Table 14: Some Current Uses For Wood-plastic Composites,Companies Involved, and Estimated SalesAPPLICATION RESINS USED PRODUCTNAME/TYPECompositeDeckingImitationWood ShinglesWindows andDoorsLDPE/HDPELDPE/HDPELDPE/HDPEHDPEHDPELDPEChoiceDekDuraboardMastermarkSmartDekTimberTechTrexPRODUCED BY ESTIMATED 1999WOOD-PLASTICCOMPOSITESALES***(MILLIONS OF $)AERTDuraboardMastermarkEaglebrook ProductsCrane PlasticsTrex4.01.06.02.020.050.0PVC Eco-Shake Re-New Wood 5.0PVCPSPVC AlloyLDPEHDPERenewal Windowswindow linealsMikronWoodMoistureShieldTimberTechAndersenC.W. OhioMikron IndustriesAERTCrane PlasticsPallets HDPE Dura-Skid Dura-Skid 5.0ConsumerGoods andHousewaresCompoundingAutomotivePPPPHDPEPPPPPP/LDPE/HDPEPSPP/LDPE/HDPEPSPPPPPPflower pots & plantersgarment hangershot tub sidingtool handlesoffice accessoriesvarious compoundsvarious compoundsinterior substratesinterior substratesinterior substratesBemisBattsWatkins/Hot SpringsEasy PainterAllsopNorth Wood PlasticsNatural Fiber CompositesLear CorporationFordSpartechSource: Calls to industry insiders, published information. No sales figures available for Strandex licensees.***In some cases, such as a hot tub or automotive interior substrate, the composite makes up only a small part of thetotal product cost. Only the composite portion is estimated in this table.20.02.05.04.05.05.02.05.00.50.13.52.516.05.01.5Consumer Goods and Housewares: Following construction, consumer goods and housewaresis the other large area of growth for wood-plastic composite materials. Attractive flowerpots and tool handles have been made by Bemis Mfg. and Easy Painter respectively. Allsop, amolder of office accessories in Washington State also uses wood-filled PP to produce a line ofproducts with an environmental spin. Batts, Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan molds over 1 million coathangers each day. A small but growing portion of these are made using wood-filled compounds.When patio furniture manufacturers start using wood-filled compounds, growth willincrease even more rapidly. Other large volume opportunities exist in upholstered furniturecomponents, where wood-filled plastic replaces solid wood frames, molded plywood, and25

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