Symphony Advance Ready to Set Up Kenaf Polymer Plant

Symphony Advance Ready to Set Up Kenaf Polymer Plant
SYMPHONY Advance Sdn Bhd (SASB) has begun discussions with Sirim and Mardi
to conduct research and development on kenaf polymer, prior to establishing a
production facility in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).
“A site has already been identified in Terengganu and operations are expected to
start as soon as the supply of kenaf is stabilised,” SASB managing director Iman
Shah Ismail said in a statement yesterday.
Kenaf is a fast growing plant that can be processed into natural fibre composites
used for car interiors, building boards and even athletic wheelchairs.
SASB currently exports kenaf powder to Japan and Korea. Its operations started in
February by milling kenaf at the National Tobacco Board’s facility. It recently started
a 0.5 ha Collection, Processing and Marketing Centre (CPMC) in Beris Lalang at a
cost of RM1 million.
Iman Shah said SASB plans to export kenaf composite material to its business
partners in industrialised countries.
“Kenaf powder is used in composite materials and we forecast demand for kenaf
worldwide to be huge, especially in composite materials.
“This is because kenaf is an environmentally friendly industrial plant and organic
material recognised by the Kyoto Protocol to mitigate global warming,” he said.
“When kenaf is used in composite materials, companies can enjoy special tax
incentives when it is exported to the European Union and the US,” he added.
US-based Kline, a leading consultancy on reinforcements and fillers for plastics and
composite material, has forecast North American demand for both wood and
agricultural fibre used as plastic additives, to be in the range of 15-20 per cent per
year in automotive applications, to 50 per cent or more per year in selected building
Principia Partners, a market consultancy specialising in polymers, plastics additives
and related markets, said polymer composites produced from natural fibre are
growing at significant double-digit rates, representing one of the major areas of
growth for plastic additives today.
“The market for these composites is projected to nearly triple in size during the next
decade, and will increase demand for the nearly US$100 million (RM321 million)
additives segment of this market,” it said. The primary driving force for these new materials is economics, since natural fibres
are currently priced at one-third or less of the cost of fibreglass.
Compared with natural wood, polymer composites are more resistant to wear and
tear, and particularly to moisture. This makes them suitable for interior and exterior
decorative house moldings, picture frames, furniture, porch decks, deck railings,
window moldings, window components, door components, roofing structures,
building siding and other indoor and outdoor items.