Published July 2013
Amino resins are thermosetting polymers, with the most important amino compounds being urea and melamine. This report focuses on urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins and melamine-formaldehyde (MF) resins. The two types of resins are discussed separately, but overall, demand for amino resins, particularly for use as adhesives in wood products, is dependent on the level of construction activity and on the overall health of regional economies. Urea-formaldehyde resins are used primarily as wood adhesives for the production of particleboard and medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
The following pie chart shows world consumption of amino resins:
A dramatic decrease in construction activity, a global weak economy and the decreased production of particleboard and MDF contributed to a significant decrease in UF resin consumption during 2007-2009, most notably in the developed regions. Output in these regions has yet to recover to prerecessionary levels. Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia have become much larger players in the UF resins market as more particleboard and MDF are being produced regionally.
Implementation of stricter limits on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products by the California Air Resources Board will affect UF resin consumption. Because of their relatively low cost, urea resins will remain the dominant resins for particleboard and MDF production. However, melamine-modified wood adhesives, such as melamine-urea-formaldehyde (MUF) resins, have grown and will likely continue to grow at the expense of UF resins in the fibrous and granulated wood market. The developing regions (Central and South America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East) will experience the highest growth in the consumption of UF resins as construction activity continues to grow at a stronger pace in these regions.
Melamine-formaldehyde resins are used primarily in laminates and wood adhesives. North American demand for MF resins, driven by laminates, surface coatings and wood adhesives, was negatively impacted by the weak economy, decreased construction and remodeling activity, and declining automobile production during 2007-2009 and has yet to recover to prerecessionary levels. Consumption of MF resins, driven by government regulations for wood adhesives for composite wood products in the United States, experienced an impressive resurgence during the latter part of 2009 and in 2010, and contributed to global demand growth as global producers conformed to new standards.
MF resin consumption will benefit from the increased domestic production of laminates by European subsidiaries-several European companies have invested in U.S. plants in order to take advantage of currency fluctuations and save on shipping costs.