Phenolic resin industry in China 1950 – 2000

Phenolic resin industry in China 1950 – 2000

I. Introduction
The polycondensation of phenols (phenol, cresol, xylenol, resorcinol, etc.) and aldehydes (formaldehyde, furfural, etc.) with the help of catalysts, resin obtained, is referred to as phenolic resin (PF).
Of these, phenolic resin made by polycondensation of phenol and formaldehyde is most important, and the most widely used.
Phenolic resin materials are cheap, —simple to be made through sophisticated production processes, not big manufacturing and processing equipment investment, easy to be used, — widely used in wood processing, coatings, plastics, construction, aviation and light industry sectors.
Shanghai plastics factory began small batch PF production in 1946. Production developed widely throughout the country late 1950. From the 1980s, manufacturers are positioned all over the country. There are about 80 PF manufacturers in China in 2002, with a  production capacity of 190,000 tons / year.
Second, the production status
PF industrial development in China can be divided into three phases:
The early stages of self-sufficiency.
The establishment of production facilities in Chongqing in mid-1950s, is mainly for the production of PF adhesive material. In late 1950s, more projects were finished all over the country, in Hangzhou, Changchun, Liaoyang, Taiyuan, Shanghai, Nanjing and other places, while Shanghai, Jiangsu and Tianjin started car paint technology development. During this period, China’s PF industry is artisanal mode of production.
By 1980, China’s production capacity is 75,000 tons PF / year, but with a much smaller actual PF production of 35,000 tons.
Period of development. In the 1980s, China began to introduce foreign PF technology and equipment, Shandong Chemical Plant has introduced technology from the United States Reichhold company, producing casting PF, in response to China’s foundry industry, which through the introduction of advanced casting processes, accessories and requirements has become a vast market.
PF has been a symbol of China getting out of workshop-style, self-sufficient production.
1996, China’s PF production capacity reached 123,000 tons / year.
Period of change. Since 1996,  PF production undertook great change in accordance with the market’s transformation:  production patterns and varities of products and qualities have undergone great changes. PF were not only some kinds of industrial production of semi-finished products, but as a complete range of the commodity to meet requirements on the  market. Large-scale wood processing and insulating refractory production enjoyed rapid development, and offered a increasing demand for related materials, additives and processing machinery development.
According to statistics, in 2002 there are about 80 PF manufacturers in China with a production capacity of 190,000 tons / year, and actual output 120,000 tons.
PF production enterprises in China were mainly positioned in southeastern coastal areas.
2002, China’s market demand for PF was 186,000 tons.
During 1996-2002, China’s demand of PF grown with annual rate of 19%. Import and export of PF both developed, with more imports than exports. In 2002, China imported PF 94,000 tons, the export volume was 28,000 tons.  During the period between 1996-2002, China’s net imports of PF grown with a average annual growth rate of 16%.
PF industry has developed rapidly in China, mainly due to following reasons:
1. Introduction of new technology in PF production;
2. Sufficient raw materials such as phenol and formaldehyde;
3. Large-scale wood processing and insulating refractory production development.
Third, demand conditions
Before 1989, PF was used just as raw materials for Bakelite production.  With the development of national economy and various application technologies,  PF’s application expanded to other industries, mainly wood processing, coatings, friction materials, grinding, insulating refractories, oil drilling, casting materials, and so on.
Although the demand from PF plastics for phenolic resin still toped, but the proportion of their consumption droped from 38% in 1996, down to 31% in 2002, while the demand for other uses increased.
4th, trends of future development
With the development of advanced processing recent years, demand to PF other than in the Bakelite  industry has shown a stronger trend. Because of its unique performance and low cost, PF tops thermosetting materials as always.Especially on following areas:
Automotive, electronics, construction, metallurgy, casting and other industries increased the demand on the industrial PF significantly ;
Sand casting industry, refractories in metallurgy industry, oil drilling industry, construction and decoration materials, insulation, adhesives in wood processing industry , reinforcing tackifier additives in rubber industry, plastic materials in electronics industry…. All show strong demand on the PF;
Market demand of PF is expected to reach 240,000 tons in China 2005, and 350,000 tonsin 2010. Conclusion
China has abundant resources of basic industrial chemicals, formaldehyde and phenol is one of the basic raw materials can be produced to meet the needs of PF production. PF application market in China is constantly expanding. In the future China will be a big player on car assembly, and the requirement of significant accessories, which will promote the development of Chinese foundry industry,…..all these will stimulate the demand on growth of PF.
Original Chinese Version: 我国酚醛树脂产业现况
Translated by

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