In 1998, we began envisioning a new synthetic leather system through R&D in water-based PU (waterborne PU). This marked our first step to reimagine a PU leather solution completely different from our preexisting method, a method based on the organic solvent dimethylformamide (DMF or DMFA, CAS No. 68-12-2). Traditionally and at that time, most manufacturers delivered PU leather through a DMF solvent-based system. In that system, PU leather’s production method and raw material both used DMF; the PU leather produced was called wet PU or wet-process PU (though called “wet process,” it’s not to be confused with water-based PU which uses no DMF; see FAQ and PU Knowledge→Water-Based PU V.S. Solvent-Based PU).
Meanwhile, we also believed it would not suffice only to eliminate DMF: we needed to reduce more environmental impact. We wanted a DMF-free, greener, and friendlier vegan leather solution. In the early 2000s, we succeeded in manufacturing our first batches of water-based PU leather. Now, we are able to provide DMF-free, water-based vegan leather solutions meeting different demands. We have overcome stereotypes on water-based PU: we can meet demands ranging from the performance & durability of sporting goods and upholstery to the softness & drape of garments. Most importantly, compared with traditional solvent-based PU, our system has significantly reduced the VOC, energy & water consumption, greenhouse gas & CO2 emission, and harmful substances used, with almost no industrial wastewater.
In 2005, to widen our solution spectrum while maintaining a green approach, we initiated R&D in a solvent-free polyurethane system we named prepolymer PU, or PPU (see DMF-Free Eco PU Solutions→Solvent-Free Prepolymer Polyurethane). In the non-solvent PPU system, we have eliminated DMF and water altogether, giving PPU resin close to 100% PU solid content and higher molecular weight than water-based PU and traditional solvent-based PU, enabling our non-solvent PPU leather to achieve more extreme physical performances. In 2008, we succeeded in our first scaled-up production. With PPU in our repertoire, we can offer PU leather with higher rebound resilience, toughness, flexing resistance, coating adhesion, and firmness. PPU can meet demands for durable upholstery, automotive use, hockey skates, and patent PU leather with no creases. PPU has also significantly reduced the VOC, energy & water consumption, greenhouse gas & CO2 emission, and harmful substances used, with almost no industrial wastewater in PPU leather production.
We completely terminated our solvent-based section years ago to focus on green, eco-friendly PU. Our water-based PU and PPU provide a cleaner, odor-free alternative to the solvent-based system, which had a fish-like ammonium odor. We have since evolved beyond simply PU leather. Now, we offer PU leather, PU resin, PU film and foil, PU hyperfoam, and PU base. Our products are customized to meet different industries’ requirements, such as 5 / 7 / 10 years hydrolysis resistance, while passing different customers’ restricted substance lists or standards like RoHS and OEKO-TEX standard 100 Product Class 1 Annex 4. Moreover, we’ve introduced biobased / biomass, biodegradable, carbon capture, and recycled elements as well.Through different combinations of surface patterns, foam layers, backing (see PU Knowledge→PU Leather Structure), and resin compounds, we offer a wide spectrum of PU solutions to customers at different tiers in the supply chain.