What is faux leather?
From an early stage, attempts have been made to produce leather imitations i.e., cheap and durable alternatives to temperamental and scarce real leather that were easily available by the meter. Artificial leather in the strictest sense has been around since the middle of the 20th century. It consists of at least two components: a textile substrate made of natural or synthetic fibers onto which a cover layer of colored plastic is laminated on a PU or PVC base.
Use of artificial leather
Soft artificial leather, as described above, is popular as a versatile cover for seats and couches. For example, it replaces nappa leather on seating and reclining furniture such as armchairs, sofas and benches. Real leather can also be easily replaced by artificial leather in waiting areas and offices, in cars, ships and airplanes, or on treatment chairs and couches in the medical sector. By deviating from real leather, almost all conceivable colors and patterns are possible, whether red, brown, beige, pine green, turquoise, black, grey, metallic tones and even color combinations. Because of its excellent properties, artificial nappa leather is also preferred to real leather for use on door trims, wall elements, consoles and gearshift bellows, among other things.
Types of artificial leather
What all synthetic leathers have in common is that they are manufactured as industrial open-ended belting and are often intended to give the impression of real leather. For this purpose, one or more layers of PVC or polyurethane are applied to a textile or synthetic base layer. For the deceptively real look and feel, the surface is then given a textured or grain embossing. A finish protects against mechanical stress and other environmental influences. Depending on the intended use, there are thin, medium or thick versions. What all high-quality artificial leathers have in common is that they can be cut to the exact requirements of the processor. Expensive waste, as with genuine leather, can be minimized.
Faux vs. real leather
Real leather is one of the oldest cultural goods manufactured by humans. As far back as the Stone Age, it was used as clothing, protection, containers, and more. Natural leather is obtained from animal skins in a complex process. To render it pliant and durable, it is mechanically and chemically processed.
Artificial leather, on the other hand, is a synthetic leather imitation that can be industrially manufactured in any quantity to be sold by the meter. Material properties, appearance and texture can be endlessly varied: from the popular patterns of a wide variety of natural leathers to textile fabric textures including seams and stitching, right through to custom technical embossing.
Artificial leather quality
Today, the synthetic doppelganger of real leather has nothing to do with the often still clumsy imitations of earlier decades. Modern artificial leathers are often indistinguishable from real leather to the naked eye or by touch, and are often superior and more suitable for industrial production than the prototype. The innovative upholstery fabric is also impressive when it comes to sustainability: artificial leather with recyclable material components, bio-based raw materials or even with recycled content from bottle PET or coffee grounds are already a reality today.
Faux leather durability
Unlike real leather, mechanical stress, sunlight and moisture have little effect on the highly water and UV-resistant imitation. It doesn’t fade, or become brittle or stained. With careful maintenance, artificial leather still looks almost new, even years later. skai® cover fabrics also impress with their perfect suitability for everyday use. For applications in demanding hospitality or mobility situations, an innovative surface sealant provides unsurpassed resistance to ketchup and red wine stains, jeans abrasion or even intentional soiling! This is easy not just on the eye, but on your wallet too!
Processing skai® faux leather
Faux leather can be manufactured, transported, stored, and processed in large rolls to be sold by the meter. Imitation leather is more economical and quicker to manufacture than real leather; less trimming is required during processing. Artificial leather can be cut, pinned, sewn, nailed, or glued, easily and safely. Depending on the product and application, our skai® faux leather can also be pulled around curves and edges.
How is skai® faux leather manufactured?
Manufacturing of faux leather: An elastic cover layer made of PU or PVC plastic is applied to a substrate made of synthetic fibers on large machines, after which the foam layer is applied. This is followed by surface embossing of the leather imitation: cowhide, ostrich or creative embossing – almost everything is possible and is even part of the skai® standard repertoire. Finally, a transparent protective layer protects the surface from dirt, abrasion and UV radiation.
Faux leather – cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning and care of faux leather: It is an extremely easy-to-clean upholstery material. In most cases, all that’s needed is to wipe the surface with a warm, mild soap solution and a microfiber cloth, and then dry it. A soft hand brush can also be used for heavier soiling. In contrast to open-pored real leather, leather imitation is not harmed by juice or even red wine stains, once the mark is immediately wiped off the fabric. In situations where artificial leather upholstery is subject to heavy-duty use, for example in the catering trade, the innovative staynu coating ensures unrivalled resistance to soiling – even a permanent marker stain can be easily removed!