Validation of SUSBIND PB, MDF and HDF boards at IKEA

The main objective of the SUSBIND project was to produce and test bio-based adhesives in an industrially relevant environment (TRL 5) as an alternative to formaldehyde-based adhesives currently used in the manufacture of wood-based panels. Within the SUSBIND project, work package 2 applies new and greener conversion technologies for the production of adhesives and intermediates and as well technologies using non-added formaldehyde ingredients, which might be a future long-term requirement from legislation point of view.

The production and validation of the most promising adhesives at pilot scale were then done with leading wood board manufactures;

  • Egger (Austria) producing P2 particle board (PB) and;
  • Valbopan (Portugal) producing medium density fibre board (MDF) and as well thin high density fibre board (HDF).

As a final step, the boards with the most promising SUSBIND adhesive formulation* was evaluated by IKEA with respect to technical and emissions requirements when used in a typical example of IKEA furniture.

The final, visual result of the SUSBIND project (c)IKEA

An important final, overall result of the project is that a SUSKET box has been produced. This small furniture has been shown at different conferences (International Conference on Wood Adhesives in Portland, USA in May 2022, and the SUSBIND Final Conference, others to come) and seminars and is testimony of that boards made of quite a high content of biomaterials in the adhesive (up to 80% by mass and 60% by carbon) can be used for producing a flat package furniture with characteristic post treatments.

It is advised to look for alternative crosslinker that has a lower carbon footprint, greater availability, and cheaper prices as the SUSBIND adhesive idea (fructose+ HMF/BHT) has a less desirable carbon footprint and poor availability of the BHT crosslinker. Moreover, it would also be of priority to, in a potential next step of the project, look deeper into a crosslinker from renewable resources (“biobased crosslinker”).

The technical properties of the SUSBIND adhesive are however promising, although we do not yet know the feasibility in industrial environment (press factor). The lab scale testing indicates however good properties at 10 sec/mm press factor and OK also for 8 sec/mm, which at least give some hope to manage up to half of that pressing time in industrial scale, which is needed.

Further investigation is also required to determine how the SUSBIND adhesive manages to attain such significant (relatively observed) acetic acid emissions. Could these emissions be reduced by changing to another crosslinker or are they (also) related to the wood source and/or press schedule used etc.?

Overall, the SUSKET box has reached a number of important technical board requirements for industry and IKEA. Additional research and developments are needed to ensure a full compliance and fulfilment of all the requirements. The boards manufactured on a small scale and in a prototype final product, the SUSBIND adhesive has displayed promising technical performance (at Technology Readiness Level, TRL 5). The technological development of the SUSBIND adhesive shows promising perspectives for the future.