The future of leather is sustainability. Or so says most consumers of today. They prefer eco-friendly material, conservative use of resources, reduced emission of pollutants and greater social commitment.
On the demand front, consumers are constantly aligning towards new designs and innovative leather offerings to ensure they are in sync with changing fashion trends. That said consumer industries such as automotive, fashion, footwear etc need to ensure that the materials or leather used adheres to these changing consumer demands and trends.
For instance, in the automotive industry, it is noted that leather has a bright future especially within the luxury / premium automotive brands. This was discussed in the recent ILM automotive leather supply chain conference held in October 2016 in Paris. Some of the upcoming trends noted include using less water; energy and chemicals used in leather making; recycling or up-cycling leather at the end of a car’s life; lower chemical volatile organic compounds (VOCs) inside the car; the move to more bio-based chemicals; greater yields through automation, etc.
Whereas those in the fashion industry have discovered the benefits behind non synthetic materials. It is easy to clean and widely recognised as a viable, efficient and healthier alternative to fabric, especially in high use areas where durability is key.
Even concerns about the “plasticky” look of synthetic materials are becoming a thing of the past. Patterned, printed, textured and metallic synthetics are now coming onto the market, creating countless options limited only by your imagination.
These new trends are perfectly documented and BASF has long noticed these trends. Which is why our polyurethane solution for synthetic material production without organic solvents- Haptex® and Elastollan® were created.
Haptex is a synthetic material created by BASF that complies with stringent volatile organic compounds (VOC) standards, as no organic solvents are used. Furthermore, Haptex simplifies production processes and optimizes costs, as it eliminates the conventional wet process step and the use of adhesives in the dry process step.
This can be further amplified by the recent co-creation project TRIO where BASF collaborated with partners such as Yanfeng, and industrial designers to develop an automotive instrument panel made with Haptex .The end result is an improved look and feel of an instrument panel that only meets stringent environmental standards with our advanced materials through the use of Haptex, while providing superior product properties and excellent haptics for synthetic materials.
The prototype was featured at Chinaplas 2017 and will be once again on display at the upcoming All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE 2017) held from August 30 to September 1 at the BASF booth. Also on display are our other range of Elastollan TPU leather which complements our synthetic material portfolio. Elastollan TPU can be used for other automotive areas such as the door panel and car seat. The ultra-soft synthetic material is highly abrasion resistant and helps manufacturers meet the stringent volatile organic compound (VOC) standards for applications and is known to be durable and wear resistant due to its high mechanical properties. This not only enables a soft, thin and flexible layer of material but also makes it easy to dye and emboss, allowing a variety of colors and fashion designs. As such, Elastollan TPU can also be used for furniture design and creation.
To learn more about Haptex and Elastollan as well as our other suite of leather solutions, please visit us at ACLE 2017, stand no. E3/D17.