Pittsburgh, April 21, 2009 — Car buyers want soft-touch surfaces and a rich look and feel throughout their vehicle’s interior. With vehicle interiors playing a larger role in consumer buying decisions, automotive OEMs are looking for ways to make the interiors more luxurious for all vehicle segments, including small- to medium-size vehicles.
Bradford Industries, together with Bayer MaterialScience LLC, has developed a solution for the OEMs. Bradford has created a synthetic leather technology (TPU-coated fabric) using Bayer’s thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials. This synthetic leather technology can be used in a wide range of interior applications such as instrument panels, center console lids, headrests, and many others.
Bradford developed the synthetic leather technology using Bayer’s Texin® AL-1000 TPU. Texin AL-1000 has been used in automotive interior applications for several years. It is an aliphatic TPU grade, so no paint or coating is needed to meet UV-resistance or weathering requirements. Texin AL-1000 also meets airbag deployment requirements for seamless instrument panels and has long-term heat-aged performance superior to most alternative materials.
“Using Texin AL-1000 grade in Bradford’s technology to make synthetic leather really makes sense. This grade has been the most widely used TPU in the North American automotive interiors market, and meets multiple OEM specifications. In addition, it feels great by itself and is even softer when coated onto fabric to create a synthetic leather,” said Michael Han, market channel manager, Bayer MaterialScience LLC.
As carmakers and their suppliers look for ways to provide car buyers with what they want and can enable them to be cost-conscious at the same time, evaluating material technologies is a solution. Synthetic leathers have been widely used in the automotive industry because of the high cost of natural leather. Bradford’s technology results in a product that is less expensive than most other polyurethane-based synthetic leathers. This technology is also environmentally friendly. It is free of PVCs and plasticizers, and will meet volatile organic compound (VOC) emission requirements.
Bradford will market this synthetic leather under its Softek® brand. The fabric can be supplied in all colors of the spectrum. “With Bradford’s process and technology, Softek can also be supplied in metallic colors, dual-colors, virtually any pattern or grain required, with logos, and in any manner of combinations.” says Manny Veiga, vice president of R&D and general manager, Bradford Industries.
“We are targeting ‘cut-and-sew’ applications, not only in the automotive interiors market, but also in other markets where leather or synthetic leathers are widely used. One example would be applications in the furniture market. By combining Bayer’s TPU technology with Bradford’s specialized process, the potential is endless,” says Han.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with nearly 15,100 employees at 30 sites around the world and 2008 sales of 9.7 billion euros. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries.
Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2008 net sales of approximately 8 billion euros (about $12 billion) and employed 17,000 at year end. Bayer’s three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people’s lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability. For more information, go to www.bayerus.com.
Bill Allan, Phone: 412-777-5200
For more information about Bayer MaterialScience's thermoplastic polyurethane offerings, call 1-800-662-2927, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bayermaterialscienceNAFTA.com.
For more information about Bradford Industries Softek synthetic leather, call 978-459-4100, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.bradfordind.com.