Toray Industries, Inc. will introduce Ultrasuede BX, a suede texture nonwoven material that is about 30% made of plant-based raw materials in January 2019.
The material boasts the world’s highest proportion of plant-based raw materials, polyester and polyurethane in this case.
Ultrasuede BX is the world’s first suede texture nonwoven material using plant-based polyurethane.
Toray plans to market it as an environment-friendly material that offers both high sensitivity and functionality in a wide range of applications, such as automotive interior, fashion and upholstery. The company aims for sales of 500 million yen from the product in fiscal year 2019 and 3 billion yen in fiscal year 2023, five years later.
Ultrasuede BX is manufactured by impregnating a three-dimensionally entangled structure of ultra-fine polyester fibers with polyurethane, coagulating it and buffing to form a suede-like surface structure.
Ultrasuede BX is made with polyester polymerized with ethylene glycol made from waste molasses of sugarcane and polyurethane composed of polyol made of castor oil from an inedible castor-oil plant, which gives the suede texture material the world’s highest content of plant-based raw materials.
Previously, polyurethane made of plant-based raw materials faced technical issues regarding physical property, such as low durability and hand, and could not be used for nonwoven materials with a suede texture. To solve these issues, Toray used its unique design technology from polymer to product structure and polyurethane coagulation technology for the development of Ultrasuede BX, which has high levels of plant-based raw materials, superior feeling and functionality such as high durability, air permeability and easy maintenance.
Toray has been focusing on the development of environment-friendly sustainable products, and has been marketing Ultrasuede PX made of partial plant-based polyester since 2016. The addition of Ultrasuede BX to the brand’s product lineup further expands the company’s offering of suede-texture nonwoven materials that realize both sustainability and creation.