Video: How Synthetic Leather is Made

Published by Nadeem Muaddi on October 1st, 2012

Not every trimmer likes the idea of working with synthetic leather – and that’s okay. But the art and science behind its production is a marvel that deserves to be respected and understood. After all, if you can’t explain to customers how it’s made, how can you expect to convince them that it’s the right or wrong choice for their cars?

The following five-minute video will help you do just that. It takes you behind the scenes of a synthetic-leather production facility to show you everything you need to know about this man-made fabric.

The video may not convince you of synthetic leather’s merits vis-a-vis the real thing, but it will help you become more of an expert on the subject.

What do you think? Do you feel strongly in favor or opposed to the use of synthetic leather? Tell us why in the comments section below.




7 Responses

  1. tinabanana says:

    the vaccum forming looked pretty cool!

  2. NoLimitMike NoLimitMike says:

    + 1 on the vaccum forming.

  3. JaniceD says:

    I enjoyed the video very much, quite a lot of work goes into making synthetic leather, I like them, in the past few years they’ve come a long way, they are easy to work with and you really have to look close to tell the difference between the real thing, one reason I like working with synthetic leather it has a lot of stretch that you don’t have with real leather, it makes my job easier, and it always has a clean neat appearance.

  4. Bryn says:

    Both products have their places.
    Vinyl (I’ll never say synthetic leather) is usually more predictable as far as uniform workability, and the price is more within reach for some customers.

    What I do object to is the continuation of the terms that insinuate it’s near leather. It simply isn’t. Let’s all just call it what it is…..vinyl upholstery material. Calling it anything else just confuses the consumer.
    I remember years ago seeing ads like, “Made with Genuine Naugahyde”. You wouldn’t believe the people who thought it was some kind of leather.
    The best service we can all give our customers is to educate them as to what it is, and to call it by what it really is, namely “Vinyl”.

  5. Hilary says:

    Whilst I’m not keen on the chemical part of the manufacturing of vinyl (what happens to all that waste at the end of the manufacturing process?), I am a vegan, and will buy the vinyl before I’d ever buy the leather. However, I’m not sure it’s production is any better than the process of tanning leather hides, which is horrific, for the workers and the environment. Vinyl gets my vote as at least the animals can be saved.

  6. Bill McClain says:

    There are 2 main types of “synthetic leather” and they are very different. Vinyl (also called PVC, and also called “The Poison Plastic”) is half as expensive and twice the weight as polyurethane (or PU). PVC is normally a rigid plastic (think water pipes), to which they add phthalates and softeners. Over time, these additives “outgas” or leave the PVC, turning it rigid again. In places like the side facings and bolsters, PVC will eventually crack, and one of the biggest warranty issues for car manufacturers is this “cold cracking”. Majilite in Boston is the only PU manufacturer in the US making seating material for the OEMs. All the rest comes from overseas, much of it from China. So, saying “polyurethane” or “vinyl” is more descriptive that lumping both into “synthetic leather”. See more at http://www.MajiliteAutomotive.com

  7. sewlow says:

    Naugahyde is nothing more than a brand name of vinyl owned by Uniroyal.


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