The Current Development of Wood-Plastic Composites in 2019

PLASTEX International takes you to Understand the Current Development of Wood-Plastic Composites in 2019

In the past year, China's wood-plastic composite industry has continued its previous high-speed development trend, the annual production, sales and export volume maintained at 25-30% growth rate. Some old factories generally increase production capacity to meet the needs of customers. At the same time, a number of new factories have opened.

Some of the following markets and product descriptions are mainly used for outdoor PE-based wood-plastic composites.

Part 1
Scale and Distribution of Plastic-Wood Manufacturing Enterprises in China

By the end of December 2018, there were nearly 620 plastic and wood manufacturing enterprises in China, of which 220 were PE-based outdoor plastic and wood composites manufacturers, with a capacity of about 2 million tons. Four of them had an annual production capacity of more than 50,000 tons, 55 had an annual production capacity of more than 20,000 tons, and 160 had an annual production capacity of more than 10,000 tons. There are about 400 indoor wood-plastic composite manufacturers with a capacity of 4.2 million tons.

In 2018, the actual output exceeded 50,000 tons: Anhui Sentai Wood Plastics Group Co., Ltd. In 2018, the actual output exceeded 10,000 tons in nearly 40 companies: Huidong Meixin Plastic Wood Profile Products Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Chengcheng New Material Technology Co., Ltd., Ningbo Helong New Material Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Kejie New Material Co., Ltd., Yixing Hualong Plastic Wood New Material Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Yuanshen State Furniture Co., Ltd., Guangdong Kang Special Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd., Binzhou Shixu Plastic Wood Co., Ltd., Huangshan Huayuan Plastic New Materials Technology Co., Ltd., Anji Zhengyuan Plastic Wood Decoration Materials Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Fresen Plastic Wood Technology Co., Ltd., Jilin Huabang New Materials Technology Co., Ltd., Shandong Lusen Plastic Wood Composite Co., Ltd., Anhui Guofeng Wood Plastic Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang New Vision Material Technology Co., Ltd., Huangshan Meishen New Material Technology Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Xinghe Rui Plastic Wood Technology Co., Ltd., Xuancheng Fumeida New Material Co., Ltd., Anhui Eride New Material Co., Ltd., Anhui Mangrove New Material Technology Co., Ltd., Shandong Xiaguang Group Ltd.

Plastic wood production enterprises are mainly distributed in the eastern provinces, of which the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and Shandong Province are the most concentrated. The newly increased production enterprises are mainly in the inland and Western provinces, while the plastic wood production enterprises in northern regions are still few.

Part 2
Domestic market situation

Generally speaking, the domestic market is growing steadily, the eastern developed areas maintain a relatively stable growth rate, while the western and Hainan provinces with developed tourism and pension real estate are growing relatively faster. For example, the application of plastic wood in Guizhou and Sichuan provinces is obviously more than that in other provinces.

From the point of view of product structure, different regions also have different characteristics. For example, Sichuan and Xinjiang generally like to use solid thick board, Hainan is mainly the second generation of co-extruded floor, Yunnan generally accept hollow round hole floor. The market share of the second generation of co-extruded flooring is gradually increasing.

Part 3
Foreign Market Situation

The European market is relatively stable,  the total volume is slightly higher than the previous year. The products are still dominated by a generation of ordinary products, and the growth of co-extruded wood products is faster. Some emerging markets are growing rapidly, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Nordic Europe, South America and Oceania, Africa. Many domestic plastic and wood enterprises actively develop these emerging markets through exhibitions and other means, and have achieved good results.

The largest and most mature market of wood-plastic composites is in North America, but because of the high market access threshold in the United States and Canada, the local production enterprises, regardless of size and brand, are higher than domestic production enterprises. Domestic plastic and wood products shipped to these markets have no advantages in terms of cost and delivery date. It is difficult to develop these markets. However, there are still a few powerful leading enterprises in China who have made great efforts to develop these markets and achieved certain results. Trade friction between China and the United States has a great impact on enterprises exporting to the United States.

Part 4

Co-extrusion products: There are four main styles of co-extrusion products in China. The first one is co-extrusion products typically represented by Meixin. Through years of hard development, after online embossing, the surface is treated. While greatly improving weather resistance, the surface has good wood texture and natural texture, forming an independent style, which is international. Domestic wood and plastic industry has been widely recognized. Most of the domestic production enterprises have formed their own styles based on the new style of the United States and various post-processing methods, which have become the mainstream of co-extrusion products. The second is on-line embossing of surface co-extrusion represented by Sentai, which basically does not carry out surface post-processing. The process is simple, the surface hardness is high, the wear resistance is good, the adhesion is strong, and the style is similar to that of similar products in the United States. It is also widely accepted by the market. The third is Jufeng's three-layer color co-extrusion products, two layers of different colors co-extrusion after deep embossing and polishing to form a vivid effect of wood grain products. The fourth is some factories represented by Jilin Huabang and Jiangsu Fresen. After surface treatment, the extruded products have rough texture, forming a unique style and obtaining a good market share.

Mixed color products: European market generally accept the appearance of wood, antique effect, in the ordinary generation of products by adding color masterbatch mixing to form a more natural stripe. This kind of technology is first represented by Help and Kant, and then some enterprises such as New Vision, Kunhong, Yongsheng and Frison further improve on this basis. The technology is more mature, the product surface effect is more natural, and the market growth is also fast.

On-line embossing, mixed color on-line embossing and surface treatment products: this kind of products through on-line embossing, deep pattern, simple and practical technology, clear texture, good wear resistance, natural surface effect, good market prospects, represents one of the directions of developing new products of plastic wood. The designer and manufacturer of the flower roll, which takes Keyi as its representative, constantly introduce new patterns, which play an active role in the marketing of this kind of products.

Simply speaking, there are new product development, mainly on the platform of the first or second generation co-extrusion products, through different surface treatment methods, to develop different styles of surface effects, to meet the customer requirements of different regions, different cultures and aesthetic requirements.

In addition, great progress has also been made in the development of products for special uses, especially those requiring high mechanical properties, such as some profiles of wood composites reinforced by metal materials in the inner layer and extruded by co-extrusion in the outer layer. Blonde core lining skeleton has good mechanical properties and double bending modulus, which is of great significance for the development of wood-plastic composites from decorative materials to structural materials.

Part 5
Problems in the industry

Environmental protection: Wood-plastic composite materials are produced by two-step method. Small molecule materials will be produced in the process of mixing wood flour with plastic and plasticizing at high temperature. Dust can be treated by sedimentation and water spraying to meet national emission standards, while odor can be partially removed by photolysis, but it is still not thorough, which has become a major problem plaguing the development of the industry.

Source of plastics: Because the State prohibits the import of waste plastics, recycled plastic particles can theoretically be imported, but customs clearance is difficult, resulting in tight supply of plastics and rising prices. The rising price of plastics has resulted in an increase of about 300 yuan per ton of plastic wood, which is of great pressure to plastic wood manufacturers.

Part 6
Future Development

1. Automation of production process

The main raw materials, wood flour and plastics, are stored in large storage tanks and then transported to the mixer in vacuum. This can reduce dust emission. The materials can be mixed again in the storage tanks, which is more uniform, and greatly reduces the labor intensity.

The main materials are weighed by automatic metering, and then transported to the mixer in vacuum. The material feeding is accurate, the labor intensity of the workers is low, and the efficiency is doubled.

The use of double-sided grinder and automatic cutting machine in the post-processing process can also greatly improve the production efficiency.

2. Granulator with Large Yield

At present, plastic wood manufacturers generally use 75 screw pelletizer, which has low production efficiency. If multiple machines produce products of the same color, it is easy to produce chromatic aberration. It is the future trend to produce more than one ton of granulator per hour.

3. Developing Processing Trade

Benefits of processing trade:

1) Reducing the Tax Cost of Enterprises

Usually, the imported plastic raw materials in general trade need to pay 16% value-added tax and 6.5% tariff. Plastics imported from processing trade are duty-free. After removing export tax rebates and other factors, developing processing trade can reduce the tax burden of enterprises to a certain extent.

2) Reducing the occupancy of funds by enterprises

For processing trade, the imported raw materials only need to be settled with suppliers on CIF basis, such as reclaimed HDPE grains from wharfs or bonded areas, at a price of about $900 per ton, which can significantly reduce the occupancy of purchasing funds.

3) Reducing the Risk of Exchange Rate Fluctuation to Enterprises

Export-oriented enterprises often make repayments in the form of U.S. dollars or euros. Currently, the exchange rate of RMB fluctuates greatly, which brings about corresponding exchange loss risk to export enterprises. Processing trade sales repayment is paid in US dollars for the purchase of major raw materials, which reduces the loss risk caused by exchange rate changes to a considerable extent.

4) Access to a more stable supply of raw materials

In a word, the development of wood-plastic composites will be in a period of high-speed growth for a long time in the future, so as to solve the problems in the industry in time and develop new products continuously, so as to make the whole industry develop healthily.