Bradford Industries (USA), a leading industrial polymer coating company has partnered with Bayer MaterialScience LLC to develop a solution to make car interiors more luxurious. Bradford has created a synthetic leather technology (TPU-coated fabric) using Bayer's thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials for wide range of soft-touch interior applications such as instrument panels, center console lids, headrests, and many others. The newly developed TPU-coated synthetic leather uses Bayer's Texin® AL-1000 TPU, an aliphatic TPU grade which has been used in automotive interiors for a very long time. The grade does not require paint or coating to meet UV-resistance or weathering requirements and also meets airbag deployment requirements.
Due to high cost of natural leather, synthetic leathers have found ground in automotive industry. Bradford's technology results in a product that is less expensive than most other polyurethane-based synthetic leathers and is also environmentally friendly. The company indicates the product named Softek® is free of PVCs and plasticizers, and will meet volatile organic compound (VOC) emission requirements. The potential market for this includes 'cut-and-sew' applications in the automotive interiors market and other markets which uses leather or synthetic leathers.