Manufacture of artificial leather

Manufacture of skai® artificial leather

For decades, the brand name skai® has been the epitome of high-quality artificial leather. Whether for furniture, fashion or in the contract sector, Continental has been a pioneer in the ongoing development of artificial leather with trail blazing innovations to the present day. For example, with the vegan PU material skai® Pureto EN or skai® Toronto EN and its dirt-resistant staynu technology. Read here about the composition of our skai® artificial leathers and the manufacturing processes that make them so lifelike and comfortable.

 

Various products in skai® artificial leather
Product variants in skai® artificial leather

What is skai® artificial leather?

Artificial leather should imitate genuine leather as closely as possible, and is a high-quality alternative to real leather. Over a hundred years ago, people were already experimenting with linen cloths coated with linseed oil. Around the middle of the 20th century, this was replaced by the artificial leather production technique that is still standard: A flexible textile substrate is coated or laminated with a polymer layer, which is finally given a lifelike embossing.

The production principle has remained the same to this day, but manufacturing technologies and material properties and quality have improved enormously. Today, it is possible to almost perfectly reproduce the look and feel of genuine leather in artificial leather. Thanks to state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing processes, the desired properties can be produced in reels with consistent quality. Even the most outrageous designs and color schemes are possible no problem – there are no limits to the designer’s creativity.

Modern artificial leathers are easy to work with, easy to clean, hard-wearing, and durable. And finally, vegan, because artificial leather doesn’t contain any animal components.

What is skai artificial leather made of?

Thanks to state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing processes, the desired properties of popular real leather can be meticulously reproduced and consistent quality in large-format reels. Even unusual designs and color schemes that you would never find in nature are no problem – there are no limits to the designer’s creativity.

The individual layers of a PVC or PU artificial leather have specific functions that make the product robust, easy to clean, and durable. Almost all skai® artificial leathers are made of the following components:

Textile substrate:
This forms the flexible link between the coating and the base (for example wood, plastic, metal or even fabric). The substrate is generally textile, although today it can also be made from recycled plastic bottles.

Coating:
The coating gives the artificial leather its softness and volume, and determines the color and design as well as the mechanical properties such as abrasion resistance.

Finish:
Depending on the application, a finish is applied to the coating, for example for improved dirt resistance, shine, feel and so on.

skai® artificial leather is always consistent in its properties, making it perfectly suited for industrial manufacture of upholstered furniture, panels, fashion and accessories.

Processing skai® artificial leather

How is skai® artificial leather manufactured?

There is no single manufacturing process for artificial leathers – processes differ widely, depending on the requirements for the material. The coating is applied to the substrate using various processes. The surface grain can be created by various embossing technologies. The different processes make possible a wide range of surface structures, from smooth leather to spectacular ostrich, crocodile or fantasy finishes.

 

Applications of skai® artificial leather

Product overview for skai® artificial leather

The diverse skai® artificial leathers with their outstanding physical properties are popular among designers, architects, furniture manufacturers and fitters worldwide. They are mainly used for residential and contract applications, but also in the medical sector, for example: