Bayer MaterialScience, one of the world’s leading polymer producers, has launched Insqin, a turn-key solution for a new generation of polyurethane-coated fabrics.
Tuesday’s introduction marks a new chapter in the footwear and apparel sector, in which Bayer offers brand owners an integrated package of pure waterborne PU technology, material co-development and a certified manufacturer partner program for PU-coated fabrics.
Insqin enables the manufacture of all types of coated fabric to be carried out without solvent. The social and environmental benefits of waterborne PU technology are of particular importance to PU leather, which has been one of the largest sources of environmental and health hazards among a range of coated fabrics. Globally, more than 4 billion square meters of PU synthetic leather are manufactured annually to meet the fast-growing demand, with China producing 90 percent of the material, putting a heavy strain on local ecosystems, Bayer noted.
“Our hope is that by interacting directly with brands as well as with manufacturers, we can reshape material innovation in the apparel and footwear industry,” said Nicholas Smith, global head of Textile Coating at Bayer MaterialScience. “We are committed to reducing harmful effects on people and the environment by enabling manufacturing that eliminates worker exposure to solvents and lowers resource consumption.”
Insqin also reduces water consumption by up to 95 percent and energy consumption by up to 50 percent in the coating process, the company claimed. Every year, around seven billion pairs of shoes, two billion bags and one billion garments are produced with PU leather and other PU-coated fabrics. With pure waterborne PU technology and rich application expertise, Bayer MaterialScience aims to inspire brand owners to explore possibilities in the design and creation of “magical” PU-coated fabrics with their Insqin portfolio.
In addition, Bayer, based in Leverkusen, Germany, is also developing the Insqin Partner Manufacturer Program, a plan in which Bayer helps manufacturers improve sustainable practices, such as reducing resource consumption in coating processes and safe chemical management. Manufacturers will be audited for consistency and high standards in the application of waterborne PU technology, allowing brand owners to source newly developed materials through an Insqin partner list with high efficiency and better transparency in the value chain.
Smith said the launch marks a “pivotal day for all textile-consuming industries,” that contributes “a practical solution that addresses the ongoing battle between sustainability and scalability.”
Bayer, with 2013 sales of 11.2 billion euros, or $15.2 billion, invented PU 75 years ago and has dedicated lab spaces in China and Germany for the research and development of new coated fabrics.
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