August 2006

Volume 15, Number 8

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Green Topics

Arreis Nonformaldehyde MDF from SierraPine

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The ranges shown represent parts per million of formaldehyde emitted from the various products based on ASTM’s E1333 test.

Abbreviations: PF=phenol formaldehyde, UF=urea formaldehyde, MDI=methyl diisocyanate, MeOH=methanol, NH3=ammonia.

Source: California Air Resources Board

Responding to growing concerns about formaldehyde, including a likely phaseout of urea-formaldehyde panel products in California (see EBN Vol. 15, No. 7), in July 2006 SierraPine, Ltd., added a new medium-density fiberboard (MDF) to its no-added-formaldehyde MDF product family. Arreis™ (“Sierra” backwards), like Medex® and Medite® II, uses the non-formaldehyde polyurethane binder methyl diisocyanate (MDI). The product is made from 100% recycled wood fiber (certified by Scientific Certification Systems for recycled content) and meets the most stringent formaldehyde emission standards, including those proposed for California.

On a performance scale of “good, better, best,” SierraPine’s marketing director, Jeff Baker, describes Arreis as good, with Medite II better and Medex best. But, due to the MDI binder, Medite II and Medex are also significantly more expensive than conventional MDF, which is produced using urea-formaldehyde (UF) binder. The company uses a patent-pending process to more efficiently utilize the MDI binder in Arreis, thus keeping costs down. While noting that distributor markups and local prices vary, Baker told EBN that Arreis typically sells for about 11% more than standard MDF, with Medite II and Medex selling for 32% and 60% more than standard MDF, respectively. Properties of Arreis and other SierraPine MDF products are listed in the table below.


* Properties based on 3⁄4” (19 mm) thickness ** SierraPine Medite MDF produced with UF binder

Arreis is currently being produced in 3⁄8” (9.5 mm) and 1⁄2” (13 mm) thicknesses; SierraPine expects to offer 5⁄8” (16 mm), 1⁄2” (13 mm), 3⁄4” (19 mm), and 1” (25 mm) products as production ramps up. Standard dimensions are 4’x8’ (1.2 x 2.4 m), though custom lengths up to 18’ (5.5 m) and widths of up to 5’ (1.5 m) are available in quantity orders.

While it’s too early to get feedback on performance in the field, the new product is generating interest. “Our distributors are certainly excited about it,” says Baker. Very likely, Arreis is the first of many new non-formaldehyde panel products that will be introduced over the coming years.

— Alex Wilson

For more information:

Jeff Baker, Marketing Director

SierraPine, Ltd.

Roseville, California


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July 31, 2006