Honeycomb Paper: Driving Panel-Type Furniture Trends
Honeycomb Paper: Driving Panel-Type Furniture Trends----The Dawn of a New Era of Fast Indoor Décor
In early 2012, the media portrayed in a negative light the fact that Vanke had used paper to produce furniture, after the company’s exquisitely decorated house was suspected of using poisonous floor materials. Not long ago, Coomo Furniture was suspected of using cardboard posing as walnut, casting paper furniture in a controversial light once more.
Several months ago, IKEA faced a tough product quality problem because the LACK bookshelf board was found to be filled with honeycomb paper . The National Geographic Channel even pointed out that the so-called solid wood Furniture was actually made of synthetic wood, by mixing wood chips with glue and drying it. Influenced by this negative press, the home furnishing field became averse to the mere mention of paper for quite some time. IKEA explained that the paper furniture used a honeycomb structure, which gave great support on both sides of the board.
The negative reporting did not retard the development of paper furniture. Honeycomb paper is a new type of sandwich structure, energy saving material made according to the honeycomb found in nature. The corrugating medium is glued into innumerable hollow three-dimensional regular hexagons to form a whole load-carrying paper core, and surface paper is pasted onto both sides. Because it is lightweight, inexpensive, strong and recyclable, honeycomb cardboard is popular, especially in developed countries like the Netherlands, the US and Japan. It is a new type of green packaging that can save resources and protect the environment. At various domestic furniture exhibitions this year, honeycomb paper furniture will be under the spotlight, thanks to the features just listed.
China’s annual wood consumption is 50 - 60 million m3. According to the National Energy Saving and Emission Reduction Manual issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology, saving 1m3 wood can reduce carbon emissions by 643g. If 20% of China’s total wood consumption in furniture manufacturing is substituted by honeycomb paper core, the country can cut carbon emissions by about 154.3 million tons a year. By widely promoting the use of honeycomb cardboard parts for furniture in furniture manufacturing , we can save about 10 million m3 of wood a year.
Paper Furniture Breaks Market Trends and Brings New Development Opportunities
During the three decades since China’s policy of reform and opening up began, real estate and furniture manufacturing have flourished, thanks to a large number of wood-based panels. There were over 50,000 furniture factories in China with a sales volume of over RMB 1.01 trillion (USD 164.1 billion) in 2012. After cars, clothing and household appliances, furniture is now the fourth most voraciously expended consumer good. Annual wood consumption is 50-60 million m3 a year and continues to grow rapidly. This is putting great pressure on the implementation of the sustainable development of China. To ease the increasingly prominent contradiction between market supply and consumer demand, paper honeycomb furniture emerged at the right time.
Under the dual influence of the need to be environmentally sensitive and compliant with national regulations, honeycomb paper furniture is becoming increasingly popular. Wood consumption by the furniture industry is up to 80 million m3 a year in China. If honeycomb composite board is widely used in furniture manufacturing, it will greatly reduce wood consumption. Experts predict that the use of one ton of paper honeycomb composite materials will save 30-50 m3 wood. Take a 20mm thick plate for example. If honeycomb composite board is made of medium density fiberboard 2.5 mm thick, the volume and weight of material is only about a quarter of the solid medium density fiberboard, while the cost of the composite board is only about half of the solid board and the composite board has advantages such as lightness of weight, hardness to deform and ease of transport. In the near future, paper honeycomb certainly has the potential to tower over rivals in the furniture market, based on its unique advantages.
Currently, in Guangdong alone, there are over 200 furniture companies using honeycomb paper core. Many locally renowned furniture companies like Idea & Design, Dickson, Haworth, Hormann, Wanlibao, Royal, Fuwei, Hing Lee Furniture, Goldfine, Tiancheng, New Lantian, Zhejiang FDD and Sichuan QuanU have made at least part of their furniture parts using honeycomb paper. Others include some Ikea OEM factories.
In Hong Kong, high-class furniture made of high-grade boards composited by high-quality honeycomb materials – called “Aircraft Wood” - is very popular. In Japan, housewives prefer light honeycomb furniture, as do many Japanese businessmen. But compared with the rest of the furniture industry, companies using honeycomb paper to produce furniture are still a minority. Therefore, there is still a large market waiting to be developed.
Green Design Supports Eco-Awareness in the Home
Today, to facilitate the trend towards environment friendly living spaces, the “greening” of furniture materials has become key. To support environment friendliness, Sitrust vigorously promotes honeycomb paper furniture. Honeycomb paper technology is more widely used outside China, especially for furniture. Foreign designers and companies, who attach great importance to environmental protection of furniture, praise this new material highly. Some products of popular mainstream companies like IKEA use honeycomb board technology.
In recent years, honeycomb paper furniture has won high praise from environmentalists because of its eco-friendly benefits. The design and application of honeycomb paper furniture fully comply with green design thinking. Green design considers the influence on the environment from design to material selection, product structural functions, production methods, packaging and transportation and product usage - even to the processing of disposed products.
Green design has ten basic principles that align with modern design: healthy and complete design; easy to use; parts easily replaceable and able to be used repeatedly; compact and easy to cleaned; easy to separate and combine; easily recyclable, low pollution and low energy consumption; elegant and suitable for production environment; materials easy to source; low consumption and holistic design principles.
The design and production of paper honeycomb furniture fully comply with green design thinking. Since 2000, with further implementation of the national forests and environmental protection policies, as well as the improvement of people’s living standards, consumers are more demanding in terms of wanting products with a good environmental performance. The prospect for honeycomb paper furniture are immeasurable.
Pioneering Industry Innovation, At the Forefront of Mainstream Production
After World War II, Western European countries wanted to ease the shortage of resources, due to the large-scale reconstruction of homes. From this need honeycomb paper technology emerged. Because of environmental protection and energy saving, low carbon emissions and because it has no disadvantages from using wood or carrying biological pathogens, honeycomb paper furniture is suitable for export. High profile local and international furniture manufacturers like IKEA, Red Apple, FZD, Goldfine, QuanU and Kinwai are adopting this technology.
In keeping with global energy saving, environment friendly, sustainable development trends, paper material is made according to the honeycomb structure principles. Body paper is glued on to hollow three-dimensional hexagons. In this way, a whole piece of paper core carrying load can be formed. Furniture made from honeycomb paper has excellent load-bearing soundproofing capacity. Using honeycomb cardboard as internal filling material is a major feature of paper furniture. This production method not only saves boards, but also reduces the weight of furniture, and it is easier to shape and transport. After technical improvements and upgrades, this kind of honeycomb paper that is used as furniture internal filling materials has strong supporting capacity and high durability. Thus, honeycomb paper furniture becomes key in the mainstream market, thanks to industry innovation. Experts have pointed out that honeycomb cardboard is more suitable for making thick board furniture such as countertops and bookcases, which not only can save 10% -15% of the cost, but also solve the problems that the thick board is difficult to be shaped and transported. In addition, paper can be recycled 15 to 17 times, to some extent, this solves the problem of having to recycle old furniture.
China has the largest volume of fast-growing wood in the world. However, because of its low density and short fiber length, this kind of wood is only suitable for making paper or paper-plate-type man-made boards, not the load-bearing parts of furniture. Most wood used to make the load-bearing parts of furniture is imported. The promotion of paper furniture can greatly reduce the use of wood. For example, 1m3 honeycomb board can stretch to 20-50 m3. According to industry statistics, the 2013 sales volume in China’s furniture market was about RMB 1.01 trillion (USD 164.1 billion). Of this, pure plate-type furniture (excluding the type that combines plate and wood) accounted for about 40%, equal to RMB 400 billion (USD 65.1 million). In theory, all plate-type furniture is compatible with honeycomb cardboard. Although at present, honeycomb paperboard furniture accounts for far less than 1% in the plate-type furniture market, a symbol of how unpredictable the broad prospects remain.
Honeycomb Paper Industry Development Summit Gathers Strong Momentum
In order to further promote the use of honeycomb paper in furniture, Reed Exhibitions will hold a “Honeycomb Paper Industry Development Summit” during SinoCorrugated South 2014 on April 10 and 11. The exhibition will be held at GD Modern International Exhibition Center, Houjie, Dongguan, Guangdong. The Summit will feature the latest information on the development of honeycomb paper, locally and internationally, including an analysis of the best production, application and innovation solutions. It will also give honeycomb paper industry professionals valuable information, the chance to strengthen their network of connections and new development opportunities in segments like technology, production and sales.
TheReed Exhibitions Honeycomb Paper Industry Development Summit will span over 1,000sqm and include diverse content: 350+ paper honeycomb product factories, over 200 paper honeycomb purchasers, more than 10 key presentations, three trade matching activities and two site visits to highly automated paper honeycomb processing factories. The meeting will also establish elite honeycomb alliances to improve production technologies and processing of paper honeycomb; formulate standards for the paper honeycomb product industry and promote the marketing of paper honeycomb derivatives. With distinctive formats and rich content, the attendance of over 500 senior managers and key principles from procurement and technology departments of paper honeycomb purchasing companies with big buying power (local and international) the Summit will add tremendous value to SinoCorrugated South 2014 and drive the development of paper honeycomb furniture.
As the social economy develops, and to meet the requirements to balance supply and demand, the development prospect of paper honeycomb furniture face dazzlingly bright growth prospects. Throughout opportunities and challenges, the paper honeycomb furniture will become a market leader, ushering in a new era for fast indoor furniture. We look forward to it with relish.