Particle board production soars on rising furniture demand
The domestic market for particle boards is thriving on the back of increasing demand for timber-substitute furniture, which is sustainable and cheaper, industry leaders said.
The furniture sector has a growth rate of 19 percent a year, which demonstrates the enormous promise, according to a study jointly conducted in 2013 by the Export Promotion Bureau, Katalyst, a multi-donor funded development entity, and Centre for Industrial Studies, an international research centre.
Local furniture sales were Tk 6,665 crore in fiscal 2011-12, which rose to nearly Tk 10,000 crore in fiscal 2013-14. The study also found that about 70,000 SMEs make furniture, employing 18 lakh people.
The rising demand for office and home furniture has encouraged entrepreneurs to set up mills to produce particle boards.
Akij Group is setting up its second particle board mill, which will be the largest in South Asia, to meet the growing demand for boards by architects, interior designers and furniture makers.
The capacity of the new unit will be 1,000 cubic metres a day, up from the existing unit's 300 cubic metres.
“Construction work on the mill is going in full swing. We expect to start commercial production early next year,” said Minhaz Ahmad, general manager (marketing) of Akij Particle Board Mills.
The factory is being built at Trishal in Mymensingh, at a cost of around Tk 500 crore.
A particle board is a timber substitute, made of wood chips. Particle boards are of multiple types that include plain, ply, veneered and vinyl, of various sizes and combinations for use in interior decoration, furniture, door and door frames, partitions, false ceilings, shelves and panels for use at homes, offices and commercial establishments.
The first particle board factory was established in the country in 1962 with Star Particle Board Mills, a jute-based particle board industry. It was also the first particle board mill in Asia.
At present, nearly a dozen particle board mills are in operation with a daily production capacity of around 1,000 cubic metres, according to industry insiders. Among them, Amber Particle Mills, a concern of Partex Group, recently doubled its capacity to 320 cubic metres a day.
“Demand is coming mainly from the corporate offices and apartments,” said AHM Shahedin, a senior officer of Partex Particle.
The boards come in different sizes, thickness and colours. Eight feet by four feet, 12mm thick boards cost Tk 1,780, which is Tk 2,095 for 18mm thick boards of the same size, Shahedin said. A timber-made product of the same size will cost double; a particle board can easily go for 15 years, although some companies give 25 years of warranty.