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UPM to target construction sector with biocomposite material

04/03/2013

Finnish forest products group UPM wants its biocomposite material ForMi to be used beyond the furniture trade into the construction industry globally.

The company is already predicting that ForMi, a cellulose reinforced fibre plastic composite material, will soon replace chipboard as the main raw material used in Finnish kitchen frames.

Finnish kitchen manufacturer Puustelli Group has deleveloped, with UPM, ForMi kitchen frame components that reduce the manufacturing carbon footprint by 35-45%.

“This is an important first step for UPM ForMi in the furniture industry,” said Stefan Fors, UPM’s director of biocomposites.

“Naturally, we hope that the construction industry will follow Puustelli’s example and adopt the environmentally-friendly material more extensively, not just in Finland but globally,” he said.

Mr Fors said different kinds of profiles could be produced for the construction sector, though he thought it would compete more with chipboard than solid wood products.

ForMi sheets with a 3mm thicknesses could replace 12mm chipboard, he added. He told TTJ that promotion of ForMi into different markets would not cut across UPM’s existing solid wood and plywood businesses. Chipboard is the wood product most likely to face competition from ForMi, he added.

Other quoted advantages include lower transport costs due to its lightness, lower formaldehyde emissions and more resistance to stress and moisture compared to chipboard.

So far ForMi, made from raw pulp and 50% virgin plastic, has been used in furniture, speakers and a variety of household products. UPM also has the ProFi brand of wood-plastic composite for decking and flooring applications.

Source: Timber Trades Journal Online

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