Covestro to break down apparel supply chain barriers in favour of material innovation
Covestro has been cooperating with IAF International Apparel Federation during 2015, an in 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.
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 customers 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.
A case in point is the INSQIN® Partner Manufacturer Programme 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.
Covestro was also a presenter at the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industries’ Manufacturers Forum that took place in Hong Kong on December 2 – 3, 2015 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.