Adhesives Magazine

Advancing Adhesives Soy-Based Adhesives Benefit Environment as Much as Industry

November 29, 2003
With environmental concerns knocking at the door, the wood adhesive industry can take heart in two soy-based adhesive products that offer environmental benefits. By using soy as an alternative adhesive, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are reduced, as well as offensive odors. U.S. lumber mills and panel manufacturers are currently using soy-based wood adhesives that were developed in part with soybean checkoff funding from the United Soybean Board (USB).

A soy-based adhesive has recently been introduced to the wood panel market. NutraSoy 7B, manufactured by Archer Daniels Midland, is used in foamed plywood glue. Soy flour is used to replace the often expensive and controversial animal blood used as a foaming agent in this adhesive.

"The foamed plywood glue made from soybeans is a high-performing alternative to adhesives made from animal blood," said Chuck Grabiel, commercialization manager at Omni Tech International and technical consultant for USB. "Substitution of soy flour for animal blood as the foaming agent in the plywood process produces panels that meet industry performance standards and offers cost effectiveness as an incentive for manufacturers."

Within the lumber industry, it is estimated that 230 North American mills produce approximately 40 billion square feet of particleboard, medium-density fiberboard, oriented strand board and plywood annually. Plywood holds the largest market share of the panel products. Although the plywood market growth has been flat, the use of the more cost-effective foamed glue manufacturing process has been increasing.

Soy adhesives provide improved performance and economics to the wood products industry. As research continues to support development of these products, the industry is already beginning to realize the value of switching to soy.

About the United Soybean Board

The United Soybean Board is composed of 62 U.S. soybean farmers appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to invest soybean checkoff funds. The soybean checkoff is a farmer-supported marketing and research fund collected on each bushel of U.S. soybeans sold. The USB invests these funds on behalf of the 600,000 U.S. soybean farmers in activities specifically designed to increase the global usage of U.S. soybeans and to reduce production costs. Checkoff-funded investment areas include human and animal health and nutrition, research and development of new uses, and research to improve soybean composition and production efficiencies. For more information, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.