Covestro has been cooperating with IAF last year with a series of workshops in which it featured as an excellent example of the value of innovation in raw materials for the apparel industry. Central in its presentation was the new waterborne method for PU coatings used mainly in artificial leather that it had developed. In this method, the PU-coated fabrics are processed entirely without solvents, which removes hazardous substances from the material manufacturing, eliminates environmental pollution risks, and greatly reduces the amount of water and energy needed.
A new name
One of the world’s leading polymer materials suppliers has a new identity. Since September 1, 2015, Bayer MaterialScience has been operating under the Covestro name. The company is now legally and economically independent from Bayer AG. Covestro has a new, colorful logo and a new vision: “To make the world a brighter place.” According to its CEO, Patrick Thomas: “We fulfill this vision by inspiring innovation and driving growth through profitable technologies and products that benefit society and reduce environmental impacts.”
Implementing new technologies
The workshops organized by IAF and Covestro not only involved showing what the technology could do, but also addressed the model used by Covestro to overcome current supply chain constraints to the implementation of new technologies. Covestro has launched a technology and services model under the brand name INSQIN®in 2014. It combines the technology itself with a high level of co-creation of new materials together with cusomers and downstream player. As it is IAF’s mission to be a driving force in a sustainable and strong development of the global apparel industry we have highlighted good examples of the implementation of technology. IAF has done so in these workshops, but also in numerous publications and seminars.
INSQIN® Partner Manufacturer Program
A case in point is the INSQIN® Partner Manufacturer Program which connects manufacturers and brand owners across the PU-coated fabric supply chain. In this program, which at present contains Chinese Kunshan Xiefu New Material Co and Korean PU synthetic materials manufacturer Duksung Co., Ltd, Covestro will provide technical support to help material manufacturers develop their use of the INSQIN® technology. The program also ensures the manufacturers will receive verification of their production processes and management systems via a globally recognized third-party audit. This helps brands and retailers who are increasingly becoming interested in sourcing sustainable materials to obtain the assurances about the origins and integrity of those materials.
World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries’ Manufacturers Forum
Covestro was also a presenter at the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries’ Manufacturers Forum that took place in Hong Kong on December 2nd and 3rd and of which IAF was host partner. The presentation showed on the one hand how the chemistry can be used in another way to modify fabrics and thus increase their functionality, which in turn opens up new possibilities for design or even potentially article construction processes. A second point was that raw material suppliers are more often directly connecting with brands and retailers, all to improve the access to new material innovations that are capable of greatly improving the apparel industry and its product.