INSQIN™ from Bayer MaterialScience is a novel turnkey solution for polyurethane (PU) coated fabrics. The company offers brand owners an integrated package of pure waterborne PU technology, material co-development and a certified manufacturer partner program for PU-coated fabrics, fostering a new way of value-chain collaboration, with particular impact in footwear and apparel markets.
PU technology is used to enhance and transform many fabrics. Every year about 7 billion pairs of shoes, 2 billion bags and 1 billion garments are produced with PU leather and other PU coated fabrics. INSQIN™ enables the manufacture of all kinds 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 all types of coated fabrics. The technology also reduces water consumption by up to 95 percent and energy consumption by up to 50 percent in the coating process.
Globally, more than 4 billion square meters of PU synthetic leather are manufactured per year to meet the fast-growing demand. China manufactures 90 percent of this figure, putting a heavy strain on local ecosystems. Worker exposure to solvents, Bayer says, needs to be addressed and pollution risks need to be minimized. Sustainability goals will be hard to achieve if the industry continues to use the mainstream solvent-based processes to produce PU leather, the company believes.
In addition, Bayer offers the INSQIN™ Partner Manufacturer Program, a quality assurance process that helps manufacturers improve sustainable practices, such as reducing resource consumption in coating processes and safe chemical management. Manufacturers will be audited in terms of consistency and high standards in the application of waterborne PU technology, allowing brand owners to source newly developed materials via an INSQIN™ partner list with high efficiency and better transparency in the value chain.