The global wood plastic composite (WPC) market was estimated at USD 4.06 billion in 2015. The market is expected to witness a significant growth on account of rising demand for WPCs in fencing, molding, decking and siding applications in the construction industry. The noise barrier characteristics offered by the product is likely to have a positive impact on the demand owing to its use in the street constructions and landscaping.
Raw materials used in the manufacturing of these composites include saw dust derived from natural wood and fibers of plastics. The attributes of the product including weight reduction, low maintenance and superior mechanical strength is expected to complement growth over the forecast period.
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WPCs act as an alternative for plastic and steel components on account of its low cost & environment friendly nature, which aids in market growth. The unique features of wood plastic composites including thermal stability, stiffness and improved recycling ability are anticipated to open new avenues for the product leading to market growth.
The industry is estimated to witness a shift towards manufacturing of wood plastic composite by wood processing & plastic manufacturing companies owing to low manufacturing cost coupled with similar manufacturing technologies.
The increasing demand of the product in numerous consumer goods such as pencils, lipsticks, toys, cups and high class packaging is expected to be a key factor in the growth of wood plastic composite market. However, the traits of WPC including high susceptibility to fire owing to its association with plastic and fungal & mould decay of wood is expected to reduce the product lifespan hindering growth.
Polyethylene composites account for over 50% of the market share dominating the market followed by polyvinylchloride. The structure and superior stability displayed by polyethylene is anticipated to bolster the demand in high performance operations such as packaging and construction.
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The building and construction segment accounts for the majority of the share owing to high investments and rising infrastructural developments particularly in developing economies. The growing demand for exquisite flooring and furniture solutions across the world is expected to drive market growth in this sector.
The decking application accounted for over 80% of the overall construction and building sector. Superior performance and low maintenance of the composites as compared to glass fibre coupled with high resilience has contributed to the increased utilization in applications such as sheet pilings, garden furniture, docks, doors, benches and sidings.
The application of wood plastic composites in automotive industry is expected to grow significantly on account of increasing demand for bio-based products in the manufacturing of car interior parts including cabin linings, cushions and backrests.
North America accounted for over 45% of the global volume in the wood plastic composite market in 2015. High demand in decking application coupled with presence of major manufacturers is expected to be the key aspect for growth in North America.
The demand for wood plastic composites in Europe accounted for over USD 60 million in 2015, with Germany accounting for over 50% of the overall revenue. The speedy automotive sector growth coupled with the existence of major automotive manufacturers such as Audi, Daimler AG, BMW, Volkswagen and Opel is likely to aid the WPC market demand over the forecast period.
The changing lifestyle coupled with rise in the disposable income in the developing economies such as India, Thailand, China, and Indonesia is expected to bolster the demand for luxury vehicles in the Asia Pacific region thereby increasing the demand for wood plastic composites. In addition, the increase in bio-based product applications coupled with the growth of electronics and consumer goods market in China is expected to have a positive impact on the demand of wood plastic composites.
The key players in the industry include Beologic N.V., Certainteed, LLC, Guangzhou Kindwood Co. Ltd., Fiberon, Fkur Kunststoff GmbH, Polyplank AB, Josef Ehrler GmbH & Co. Kg, Renolit, Polymera Inc., Tamko Building Products, Inc., Trex Company, Inc. and Timbertech.
The major companies in this industry invest in R&D projects to increase product durability and performance. In August 2015, Russia-based GS Group initialized a wood plastic production plant with an annual capacity of over 2,100 tons. The company produces granulated wood plastic composites and finished products using extrusion and injection technologies. The manufacturing facility was established to minimize the imports in Russia accounting for 40% of the overall demand.
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