Elastomer skin alternative to PVC

BASF has developed a polyurethane elastomer ‘skin’ for automotive interiors that, it says, outperforms polyvinyl chloride and other traditional skin materials.

BASF has developed a polyurethane elastomer ‘skin’ for automotive interiors that, it says, outperforms polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other traditional skin materials.

The new material, named Elastoskin, was developed by the BASF Polyurethanes Regional Business unit in Wyandotte, MI.

Already used on instrument panels and inside door panels of such top-of-the-line cars as the Buick Park Avenue, Oldsmobile Aurora and Cadillac CTS, Elastoskin products are also slated for use on upcoming Cadillac Seville and Cadillac Deville models.

Michael Pcolinski, Business Manager, Urethane Flexible Systems, expects that Elastoskin products will be used on the interiors of additional vehicles in the near future.

Pcolinski said that Elastoskin polyurethane elastomers offer an unusual combination of characteristics that makes them the material of choice for the interiors of quality cars: exceptional durability and toughness, combined with a soft, luxurious feel; easy two-tone colour processing; and unsurpassed, leather-like grain definition.

Despite the superior performance and aesthetic properties of the product, in many applications, parts made using Elastoskin material will cost less to make than those made with PVC or similar materials commonly used for automotive interior skins.

According to Pcolinski, the use of Elastoskin material on automotive interiors is just the beginning.

‘Products made from Elastoskin elastomers are not only tough and able to withstand repeated handling, but also extremely resistant to the effects of wide temperature changes and weathering. These qualities make them excellent choices for many non-automotive applications, such as seat coverings for snowmobiles and tractors, or for marine use,’ he said.

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