Nahar WPCC expects more regional success with Einwood
AS Japanís WPC Corporation, manufacturer of wood plastic composites, and its UAE-based exclusive partner, Nahar Group, prepare to launch a showroom featuring Einwood composite decking profiles in Dubai this month, MEI speaks to Abbas Vakil, managing director of Nahar WPCC about the product.
Please tell us about Einwood and when was it launched in the Middle East?
Einwood (wood composite) was invented in 1972 in Japan. People in Japan are very fond of wood, so it was not easy for wood composites to enter the market initially. The product was launched in the early 1990s as an interior finishing material, with the key words, new material with priority on design qualities. Then in the late 1990s, to further strengthen its position in the market and also to meet the needs of the market, Einwood was introduced as an exterior material with the key words environmental material with priority on the environment. Einwood, not only succeeded in capturing the domestic market as luxury building material, it also established a strong presence overseas, despite its relatively higher cost and competition with low-priced non-sustainable wood products.
Given the rising popularity of wood composites in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE, we introduced this product to this region in 2008. Although still a niche product, its use is growing fast. There are several products in the market sourced from European, American, Japanese and Chinese suppliers. But Einwood Japan leads in this sector.
What are the applications of Einwood?
In Middle East, wood composites are used mainly for exteriors, like decking, cladding, furniture, pergolas, railings and signage and indoors for floorings, mouldings, joinery, decoration panes, window sills, and door and window frames. The bulk of the market, however, is in decking.
Currently wood composites enjoy an esteemed place in public and private installations. It is given priority over wood whenever a new site is to be built. In Middle East 60 per cent of decking installations currently in progress are in wood composite.
It is also preferred as a replacement product for old wooden decks. While wood compositesí most common application is in the construction of buildings, its non-structural applications include the automotive industry for inside trim, glove boxes and dashboard consoles. Furniture and interior decoration sectors also use the product for manufacturing furniture, partitions and counter tops.
Can you elaborate on the product range?
Although currently, in the Middle East, its main application is for decking and cladding purposes, a fundamental change is taking place in the market. We have witnessed a sharp increase in demand for Einwood facades and for a vast array of architectural application.
When Einwoods performance was compared with natural hardwoods, it was found to have the lowest carbon footprint, in particular because it does not involve the destruction of equatorial forests, and also because it consists of a minimum of 90 per cent recycled materials. Unlike wood, Einwood does not require annual treatment and also has a lower slip coefficient.
Because of these properties, Einwood was awarded the prestigious Japanese Eco Mark as well as Singapore Green Label.
Have you added any new product to the Einwood range?
Following the first generation of Solid technology, second generation of Hollow technology and third generation of Foam technology, Einwood Aluminum Hybrid technology was developed in 2010, what we consider as the fourth generation. The product is ideal for high rise buildings and high wind load bearing places.
Can you give example of some of the projects in the Middle East?
Einwood has been supplied to several prestigious projects, including the Park Hyatt and Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai and in Abu Dhabi to Al Raha Beach Resort, Etihad Towers, Sea Food Restaurant, Al Najmat Island and Al Reem Island.
What are the advantages Einwood offers compared to conventional floors?
In the Middle East, we have oak, maple, walnut and other woods which are essentially destined for indoor use. For outdoors, we use tropical woods from Brazil, Asia and Australia as well as composite woods.
Today for environmental reasons, governments rank composite wood ahead of sustainably managed wood. Wood Composite is considered a green product, environmentally friendly and sustainable. In 2004, a quality standard named JIS 5741 was implemented and Einwood technology was certified by JIA A5741*1.
Einwood is not content simply to set the benchmark for environmentally friendly products. The technological qualities of its products are impressive, and more often than not, superior to natural wood. The durability of Einwood is borne out by installations that have already been in place for many years, often in latitudes and under conditions similar to those prevalent in the Middle East. The mechanical resistance of these constructions is now clearly proven, as is their user safety record: with an R12 rating for slip resistance under the DIN 51130 standard, which represents an extremely low risk of slipping makes the product suitable for publicly-accessible outdoor applications.
How cost-effective is Einwood compared to wood?
Wood composite is considered a high-end product as well as ultra-low maintenance product. The table here indicates the life time cost. Einwood helps save 75 per cent of cost compared to teak over a period of 10 years.
What are the benefits Einwood offers to interior designers /architects?
With the demand for eco-friendly products on the rise in Middle East, finding sustainable solutions in view of limited wood resources is a major challenge for designers and architects. Einwood is sustainable and also cost effective.
Another major advantage is that it can be customised according to requirements. We vary the formulation to meet our clientsí cost and quantity needs. Currently Einwood has more than 120 formulations.
Have you custom-designed for any projects?
In Tokyo, Einwood was involved with special siding designed by Kengo Kuma. The client wanted to recreate a tree and it would have been very expensive to work with real wood. With the help of Einwood concrete forms, the client could achieve the colours and effect he wanted.
Finishing material: There are
in-numerous applications of Einwood
For another project in Tahiti, French Polynesia, the Einwood Grey colour was selected for a seven-star hotel by a US developer to construct 6,000 sq m of pontoons, decking and walkways. Einwood was selected for its specific characteristics that include bearing heavy loads and a very low humidity uptake. Since its extremely strong and lightweight, it is ideal for decking and finishing.
In Mumbai, India, we designed wood ceiling and wall cladding to cover an area of 80,000 sq m.
What are your plans for the future?
We are very optimistic as there are in-numerous applications of Einwood. We do not want to confine ourselves to decks. We are exploring other sectors such as the power industries, buildings and interior decoration.
We have also developed some products like anti-noise panels for highways, sound-proof panels for rooms and low surface temperature decks which are cooler than natural wood decks by 10 degrees.
We are also looking at introducing new products as a substitute to concrete and metal.
We are developing marketing strategies for important countries and region like the Middle East, Oceania, the India subcontinent, northern Africa and Europe.
We expect double-digit growth rates by 2015 as the Middle East decking market, currently around 60,000 tonnes, is expected to be between 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes by 2015.