A dark horse is someone who emerges to prominence; being previously little known. MDF is one such product which is rapidly becoming the choice of material for manufacturers in various industries despite being surrounded by misperceptions. The applications range from kings-size bed boxes and display boards to small handicrafts and photo frames. The versatility of this product can be attributed to it being relatively easy to cut. Certain non linear designs are only possible on MDF, not on Plywood. The general feedback from carpenters and manufacturers is that they do not have any major issues working with MDF. Many large OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have completely replaced Plywood with MDF for furniture and interiors as they have managed to acquire the mechanisms needed to do so. Even individual carpenters are slowly replacing Plywood with MDF due to the better price margins that the latter provides. For instance, the usage of Plywood was common at the bottom and at the back of bed boxes but this is now widely being replaced.
However there are some challenges for MDF. The main one being consumer misperception about the product. Many carpenters explained that a lot of customers believe that MDF lacks durability and hence do not want to use it. They call it “gatta” (meaning paper or cardboard). According to MDF using carpenters, this misperception is often fuelled by carpenters that use plywood. Interestingly, several manufacturers who use MDF regularly also habitually call it “gatta”. MDF seems to have become synonymous with this word. Hence looking forward the challenge is to break this perception.
On the brighter side, people are getting convinced about MDF as they gain more knowledge about it. This is especially the case in larger cities where people are more inclined to buy ready to install furniture from MDF-using OEMs. They have begun to understand that MDF is a quality product. Also as individual carpenters acquire new mechanisms to work with MDF there will be a shift away from plywood. Currently, they prefer hammering over drilling but this limits the usage of MDF. Once they adopt new practices, the usage of MDF will increase further. Innovations mean newer application and mechanisms will be found. These will all increase the demand for MDF in the future.
Credits: Ms. Priyanjali Jain