The adhesives industry is changing, forced by regulation in the EU and the US as well as customer demand, to shift to non-toxic alternatives. In particular, the traditional engineered wood industry is under pressure to reduce the use of urea-formaldehyde, a toxic and carcinogenic material, but which is currently a £7bn market. The market is dominated by a harmful product due to the absence of alternatives which can cure fast enough, achieve the same price and have consistently available feedstocks. At the same time, the search for an alternative is hindered by the surprising manufacturing complexity of engineered wood projects, in which 2,000 parameters are tuned to achieve product consistency.
Materialize.X is able to optimise their proprietary, patent-pending, non-toxic resin for different applications exceptionally quickly using custom-built machine learning. It can be used in particle board, MDF, to hold laminate onto things. Their glue will replace toxic (and therefore heavily regulated) incumbents such as urea-formaldehyde. Their pipeline contains 10 of Europe’s leading wood panel manufacturers and 2 formalised partnerships for the development of their product.
“We are looking for new adhesives because we anticipate even stronger restrictions on formaldehyde-based glue. We have experienced a 15% loss of productivity since regulations came in.” – Production Manager, Engineered Wood Company