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Bayer, International Apparel Federation Promote Water-Saving Polyurethane Technology

Bayer MaterialScience has teamed up with the International Apparel Federation to promote its Insqin for polyurethane (PU) coated fabrics.

The waterborne PU technology enables PU coated fabrics to be manufactured without solvent and also reduces water consumption by up to 95 percent and energy consumption by up to 50 percent in the coating process, according to Bayer.

As the first step in the collaboration, which the partners say aims to improve sustainability in the apparel and footwear industry, both partners have hosted a number of Insqin series workshops for footwear and apparel brand owners that use PU coated fabrics. The workshops took place across three continents.

PU leather, commonly used in footwear, apparel and accessories, can harm the environment in its production. Large amounts of solvent are used in the traditional PU coating process, creating occupational hazards and environmental pollution risks.

Insqin pure waterborne PU technology enables PU leather to be manufactured in a new process that does not require the use of any solvents, and therefore eliminates all negative issues associated with their use.

Bayer says the technology presents a wide range of possibilities to enhance and transform fabrics, be it luxurious hand feel or unique textures and finishes for the fashion industry, or high performance materials required by sporting goods manufacturers.

The other hot topic covered during the Insqin series workshop is how to secure supply chain transparency. Sometimes for manufacturers it is difficult to get visibility and direct access to brand owners interested in sourcing more sustainable materials. Also for brand owners, transparency about the origin and quality of fabric materials is often difficult to achieve.

Addressing these unmet needs, Bayer has also developed the Insqin Partner Manufacturer Program that through professional third-party audit verifies the management system and production processes of manufacturers using the technology.

Certified partner manufacturers of Insqin benefit from technical support from Bayer MaterialScience for the implementation of waterborne PU technology in their units to speed up the commercial scale-up of the new materials. For footwear and apparel brands wanting to source new sustainable materials, the program provides them with manufacturers with proven credentials in sustainable manufacturing. Brand owners can easily identify textile materials produced with the technology via clear Insqin labeling on packaging.


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