The 5th International Wood Fiber Polymer Composites Symposium
From September 26th to 29th 2011, 165 participants gathered for the French WPC congress that was held for the first time at the new venue in Biarritz. Lecturers from Europe as well as from Japan and North and South America gave proof of the convention’s high scientific standards.
Asta Eder was involved in organizing the program as a member of the scientific committee and the chairman of the first session “Advance Market Acceptance, Business Opportunities and
Standardization Outlook and Certification”. The new market study “Wood plastic composites in Europe” from HackwellGroup was presented in this session. The WPC market in Europe has been growingsince year 2005, and the number of producers has been tripled as well as the production volumes.
Asta Eder was involved in organizing the program as a member of the scientific committee and the chairman of the first session “Advance Market Acceptance, Business Opportunities and Standardization Outlook and Certification”. The new market study “Wood plastic composites in Europe” from HackwellGroup was presented in this session. The WPC market in Europe has been growingsince year 2005, and the number of producers has been tripled as well as the production volumes.
In his key note lecture, Professor MohiniSain, director of the Centre for Biocomposites and Biomaterials Processing in Toronto, showed new application possibilities for bio materials. Sain sees a positive development particularly in light weight construction, for example nano-cellulose reinforced bio materials or novel carbon fibers from lignin. He introduced sample products for the toy and sporting goods industry as well as the automotive industry, which will lead to the doubling of thebio-based materials’ market share until 2025.
In North America as well as in Europe, PVC is increasingly used in the WPC industry. Sain emphasized that per definition a bio material can be produced from any matrix polymer as long as it contains a minimum of 20% fillers of biogenic origin.
Johanna Lampinen from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland alluded tothe international progress of bio-based polymers. For some of those, such as PLA, a convergence to the price level of conventional polymers is expected in due time.
Arne Schirp, project manager at the Fraunhofer WKI Wood Research Institute, reported on the results of the European WPC standardization initiative. The European standardization should be available in about two years, until then there are voluntary certifications not only from Germany (Quality seal of the VHI), but already since 2009 also from France and Finland (VTT).
Lectures about the speeding up of endurance tests, weathering, flame resistance and co-extrusion were held by representatives of renowned research establishments (University of Maine, USDA Forest Products Lab, Wood K plus). Sonja Kahr (Battenfeld-Cincinnati) presented a well-arranged comparison of different compounding technologies for WPC with regard to granule quality and production efficiency. Moreover, she introduced the company Deltawood’shousing concept, which allows the quick and efficient construction of accommodations of the blockhouse construction type. Further new application fields were also presented. The Austrian company Extruwood was able to significantly reduce the thermal transmittance value compared to a wood aluminum window with a novel window profile (frame cover) from PVC-based WPC. Takeyasu Kikuchi (WPC Corporation) presented foamed cladding components from WPC.
In summary, the congress offered a mix of interesting and well-presented topics from the scientific as well as the industrial viewpoint. The next congress will be held in Biarritz again in 2013.
DI Dr. Asta Eder
Asta Eder Composites Consulting
DI Lukas Sobczak
Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH