For some months we have been facing continuous price increases of furfuryl alcohol. This molecule is used in the production of furan resins for foundry processes. Since the price of the resins has increased more than 1 €/kg in a relatively short time – only 12 months - many foundries have been strongly affected in their costs.
Furan binders can not be easily replaced. The only alternatives are lower quality products. But cheaper products can negatively affect the process speed as well as the percentage of product consumption and they generally change the standards and procedures achieved by foundries in their production process.
The reason why this price has increased is basically related to the demand growth. It is well known that furfuryl alcohol is not a petrol-based derivate but is obtained from plants and its main manufacturers are located in China. In the past, the Chinese commercial policy aimed at lowering the prices to force other countries’ competitors out of the market leading to a sort of Chinese monopoly.
Moreover, this molecule has been used for the last few years also in textile fibers production, meeting the demand of the clothing market whose raw material consumptions is huge in comparison with foundries.
Last but not least, China has recognized and adopted the latest rules about furfuryl alcohol toxicity, therefore some plants like ports or industrial warehouses are no longer suitable, which has also led to an additional offer reduction.
Nowadays, manufacturers of resins for foundries like F.lli Mazzon are forced to bear the consequences of such events and often have to accept “unfair” prices in order to grant the supply of raw materials. All contracts or agreements were useless: we have to pay in advance and we look forward to receiving the goods!
At the moment we hope for a price reduction enhanced by market laws:i.e. we hope that those manufacturers who interrupted their furfuryl alcohol production because of Chinese leadership might resume their production, but this will need a lot of time especially in case of dismantled plants.
In the meantime, we think that foundries should focus on consumption optimisation, for example installing modern mixers, constantly monitoring the sand and, where possible, introducing condensed resins with phenolic, ureic and similar components, besides the furan ones, in order to decrease their costs. F.lli Mazzon has specific reactors in its plant for the above mentioned synthesis processes and our technicians are always available to discuss the topic with each foundry, meeting the needs and features of each production plant.
F.lli Mazzon SpA