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Applications Biodegradable Alternative to Leather By Farida Bocchese API S.p.A. Mussolente (Vicenza), Italy APINAT ® is an innovative family of recyclable biopolymers with a certified level of biodegradability and a verified content of renewable resources. These bioplastics are the result of constant research and development at API SpA, a leading Italian producer of thermoplastic compounds. Apinat brings together API’s dedication to providing high-quality, great-looking products with outstanding performance and their commitment to safeguarding the environment. Starting from bioplastics Apinat, there was the idea to realize a range of bio-materials which would meet the everincreasing demand for environmentally friendly products in the footwear and synthetic leather industries. This philosophy led to the formation of a partnership between API and Fiscagomma S.p.A., leading Italian producer of synthetic leather and finished products as an alternative to leather. The stated aim of the partnership was to reduce the use of solvents while exploring the possibility of using raw materials which would provide the fashion industry with a viable, more environmentally friendly alternative to thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The project was not without its difficulties and significant limitations which required a determined effort in research and development. The project aimed to identify and industrialize a new mono-component product with the following characteristics: • ensure that the minimum number of technological and process changes would be necessary thus providing our clients and end users with an innovative product without needing to invest in costly machinery upgrades and replacements; • guarantee that the end product adequately met the needs of the end user; • the working processes needed to remain the same as the traditional methods used to work synthetic leather in TPU. The culmination of this project was the launch of a new product: ‘APINAT BIODEGRADABLE ECO-LEATHER series’ • Super soft • Workable both using coagulation and transfer coating processes • Heat burnishable. The first application of Apinat Biodegradable Eco- Leather occurred in the bookbinding industry leading to the development of product line AURORA by Fiscagomma Spa. The Aurora material is obtained using Apinat Biodegradable Eco-Leather on supports of non-woven. The biodegradable eco-leather series Aurora has already been chosen by leading global manufacturers of stationery. In addition to the bookbinding industries, Apinat Biodegradable Eco-Leather series can be used in some of the most advanced high-quality footwear, clothing and packaging industries. API company will present Apinat Biodegradable Eco- Leather at Techtextil exhibition in Frankfurt/Main, Germany from 24 to 26 May 2011 in hall 4.1, stand C74. 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/11] Vol. 6

bioplastics MAGAZINE ePaper