Quality assurance for market development of particleboard in Ghana (a Case Study)

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The market of particleboard has been observed to be very small and this study is an effort to help develop it through quality assurance that could boost confidence of potential consumers in particleboard quality. Data was obtained by a survey of some selected consumers to assess market potential of particleboard as well as constraints to its marketing. Data was also collected at the factory for assessment of product quality. Particleboard panels were randomly sampled one from each of twenty batches, to determine their physical and mechanical properties. The data were analysed by sample means, standard deviations and control charts. The study revealed that particleboard would have a high market potential in Ghana if misconception about its quality were cleared. Laminated particleboard was in particular, attractive but the production capacity of the secondary finishing line was low. The price of particleboard relative to that of plywood for similar uses was observed to be high and this calls for a low introductory price. The inability of the firm to operate on economies of scale due to low patronage resulted in a high unit price. Poor distribution of the product also limited accessibility to potential consumers. Hence it was recommended that more distribution depots and showrooms be established in all the regional capitals. Promotional adverts need to be made on radio and TV to generate public awareness of availability and qualities of the product. Tests conducted on board samples revealed that the mean values of the strength and serviceability properties of the boards such as density, bending strength, tensile strength, screw - holding power etc. generally conform to international specification standards of both the German Norm DIN 68761 and the British Standards Institution’s BS 5669. 1989: Part 2 for grade A or C1A and C2 boards. Thus the boards can be confidently used for interior purposes such as furniture, cabinet, shelves, flush doors, wall arid ceiling panels, case goods etc. The mean values of the processing parameters such as moisture content of dried chips, glue viscosity, gelation time etc. were also found to conform to the mill’s own standard specifications. It was also observed that variation of variables between samples was generally within control limits.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Wood Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Master of Science, 2001