Waterborne polyurethane coatings make textile production more eco-friendly and safe
Combating climate change with cool looks
Functional clothing, fancy upholstery, robust car seats: there are many good reasons that speak for polyurethane (PU)-based textile coatings. Until now, however, one important reason also spoke against them: the processing of standard PU coatings requires chemical solvents. These solvents often feature a poor carbon footprint and pose a potential risk to both workers and the environment during the production process. One example is the widely used dimethylformamide (DMF), which is considered by many countries’ chemical associations as a substance of very high concern due to its status as a reprotoxin.
Waterborne PU innovations by Covestro help overcome the perceived contradiction of performance and eco-friendliness in the textile industry. A variety of technologies, assembled under the name INSQIN®, enable producers and brand owners along the value chain to offer high-quality soft goods with a global warming potential that is far lower than those made with solvents. Synthetic materials using waterborne PU technology also require drastically less water – up to 95 percent is possible – than traditional wet-processed materials, as there is no need to wash out any solvent after applying the coat.
INSQIN® PU coatings are sought after in diverse industries, like in the automotive and furniture sector for example, and for technical textile applications, such as work gloves with special performance requirements. One of the most exciting examples, however, is its contribution to functional sports- and footwear.
High-performance materials for high-performance apparel
PU coatings are perfectly suited for the creation of quality sports and outdoor apparel, as products in this particular field have to meet the highest requirements in terms of toughness, functionality, comfort, and style. On top of that, many sports and nature lovers follow a very eco-sensitive lifestyle. All these things considered, it’s hardly surprising that waterborne coating solutions by Covestro are changing the game when it comes to the manufacture of high-performing, sustainable sports shoes and clothing.