Sunday, 6 August 2017

Artificial Leather & Vinyl Upholstery

Vinyl [: Polyvinyl chloride , a particular vinyl polymer]

Automotive OEM technology is becoming more and more complex requiring educated and skilled technicians to work on them. As the materials used are constantly changing we must maintain our knowledge base and utilize the correct products and application methodologies to keep up with emerging technologies.

Automobile manufacturers have blurred the distinguishing lines on what exactly leather is. There are many so-called ‘leathers’ that are actually the bottom split (the fibrous part of the hide) which are covered with a vinyl or urethane coating. Diagnosis is the key, not guess work. Before deciding on what products to use, you need to ascertain the grade of leather and the type of leather finish applied

Automobile model ranges use different materials for their vehicles interiors; leather upholstery like Aniline Immersion Dyed, Aniline Micro Pigmented, (Urethane) Finished, Artificial leather such as MB-Tex and unfinished materials like Synthetics and Alcantara, and sometimes combinations of products (Alcantara seat inserts on leather seating) as well as various grades of leather hide, full-grain, top-grain and split –grain (which is protected with urethane) all of which require different products and applications methods.

Artificial leather (MB-Tex, Artico, BMW Leatherette and etc)
It’s a non-organic (synthetic) leather-like finish material that is used in many vehicles under the guise of leather, it has an even, almost repeating pattern, and it also has a protective coating applied.
 It also has micro-pores that allow evaporation and hydration (the passage of water vapor through a membrane or pore) they are not sealed per se as some chemicals penetrate it easily; others stay on top dependent upon their molecule size.

MB-Tex and Artico
 [: a synthetic fabric made to look like leather] are probably the best known of this type of material that can imitate leather as they imprint a grain pattern into it; the depth of the lines within the grain that also consistent, while the same lines on leather will vary widely. Artificial leather usually has single stitching; whereas leather uses double stitching, as leather is thicker.

Identifying characteristics - it is also usually smooth and soft to the touch.

The water-drop absorbency test- water drops will ‘bead’ on the surface

Absorbency rate -Low

BMW Leatherette sometimes referred to as Poromerics (a term coined by DuPont)
Is an imitation leather are a group of synthetic ‘breathable’ leather substitutes made from plastic coating (usually polyurethane) on a fibrous base layer (typically polyester) Including Naugahyde, the fabric can be made of a natural or a synthetic fibre which is then covered with a soft PVC layer, which is a lighter, more flexible and less restrictive material than leather. This kind of material is easy to clean, requiring the owner to simply wipe it off occasionally with a cloth dipped in a solution of mild detergent and warm water.

a) Leather Master Car Interior Clean & Care Mousse - is formulated to deep clean vinyl, rubber, and plastics and restore the color and like-new appearance. It works well on the dashboard, door panels, console, and interior trim. It leaves an anti-static, non-sticky surface that looks like new.
As it cleans, it also conditions synthetic materials to enhance the color and restore a new, supple look. A convenient foam that drips less on vertical door panels and seat backs, use a microfiber applicator or towel to apply the mousse to your vehicle.

b) 1z Plastic Cleaner (Plastik-Reiniger) - an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner that removes grime build-up, scuff marks, bitumen (tar) and nicotine thoroughly and effortlessly with dust-resistant anti-static action. Safely cleans all clear and colored automotive plastic interior fittings such as dash, trim, door panels, navigation/audio screens, steering wheel, and pedals. It leaves a long-lasting matt finish with fresh citrus scent. The perfect everyday cleaner for interior plastic surfaces, it’s a mild cleaner to prevent the drying of these porous surfaces, yet it is effective at removing body oils and grime on a regular basis.

Use to clean armrests, door handles, shift knobs, vinyl seats, pedals, dashboard, storage compartments, tires, rocker panels, wheel wells, and etc. Water-based formula is biodegradable, silicone and formalin-free as well as environmentally friendly.

Protection - even though this material is not real leather, it can definitely crack and distort, with Einszett 1z Cockpit Premiumfor use on clean or pre-cleaned vinyl or synthetic leather, it provides a temperature-resistant seal and a low-shine matte finish   Dust-resistant and retards the fading effects of UV rays to keep synthetic leather and vinyl looking like new.

UV protection is a sacrificial/renewable component; this is due to the UV protection layer being degraded by exposure to the elements so it is imperative that you renew it and needs to be re-applied on a regular basis (dependent upon location climatic condition) especially on convertibles/roadsters

Application - Spray 303 Space Protectant onto a clean 100% cotton micro fibre towel, agitate it well and then allow it to remain in place for 10-15 minutes. Finally using a clean 100% cotton micro fibre towel buff it ensure it permeates and to remove any residue

Note: This product has only minimal cleaning ability; so it should only be used on pre-cleaned surfaces

Interior Vinyl

Including the dashboard and door cards - periodically clean using Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger' an intensive, non-corrosive, non-acidic two-phase deep cleaner for urethane covered upholstery and vinyl trim, that removes grime build-up thoroughly and effortlessly, these chemicals restore the original texture, tactile feel, and resiliency or Sonax Dashboard

The cleaner is both Silicon-free (Silicon oil formulations are build-up type products which accelerate heat damage) interior cleaners for all vinyl/plastic parts reliably prevents electrostatic charges creating a dust repellent surface.

And then apply a suitable matte type dressing (G Techniq C4 Trim Restorer or Iz Cockpit Premium) for use on clean or pre-cleaned trim, to ensure that there is no reflection on the windshield, thus reducing visibility.

Alternate with a UVR protection (303™ Space Protectant or Optimum Protectant Plus) especially to the dash and any other surface that is subjected to sunlight on a regular basis. Note that there are no surface cleaners in these products

Virtually all vinyl manufacturers agree that (Dimethyl Silicones (DMS) should not be used on vinyl (See Vinyl and Rubber Dressings” - Solvent -based silicone dressings)

Vinyl Trim Renovation
Refinishing Vinyl
Vinyl is impregnated with plasticizers; they generally remain supple for quite a long time. When the plasticizers eventually migrate into the atmosphere, there is nothing that can be done to re-soften these materials. Surface blemishes such as rips or tears and holes can be repaired and they can be refinished.

For best results when recoloring vinyl, use the same color as on the original finish, as color changing can be problematic.

Color Plus Super Cleaner to clean the vinyl surface before applying colorant. Surflex Flexible Surface Colorant used to restore the color of interior vinyl, Surflex is a flexible surface colorant, it’s water -based polymer pigmentation. Does not crack, chip or become brittle with age, restores the natural appearance and does not look "painted". Will not fill in or cover up the natural vinyl grain pattern, remains permanently flexible. Wash and rinse thoroughly per label instructions. Let the surface dry thoroughly before proceeding with the coloring.

Lacquer thinner or any strong solvent used to clean vinyl have a tendency to dissolve the surface, leaving it sticky and unworkable. After the vinyl surface is clean and dry, sand lightly with either very fine sandpaper or steel wool. Remove all residues from the surface with a tack cloth or similar product. Since vinyl is nonporous, it is imperative that no residue is left on the surface when you apply colorant.

Begin in an inconspicuous area such as a seat back or bottom and apply a thin coat of colorant, concentrating on thin even applications.  To avoid leaving brush marks, do not re-stroke partially dried areas. As soon as the first coat is dry to the touch, a second coat can be applied. If necessary, touch up with a third coat. Use varied brush strokes (half-circles, cross-hatches, etc.) to eliminate any brush-mark patterns.

When spraying, use about 25 PSI air pressure, a narrow fan tip, and apply a full wet first coat; avoid runs or puddles. If necessary, when dry apply subsequent coat(s) for good color coverage clean equipment with warm, soapy water

Surflex Flexible Surface Colorant is water-based and dries for use within 24 hours, curing completely in about 6 weeks, after which time the surface should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water and a cleaning preparations intended for vinyl (Iz einszett 'Plastik-Reiniger’)

Vinyl Repair
Leather Magic Liquid Vinyl is a highly concentrated mixture of plasticizers and ketones. When exposed to air the ketones evaporate leaving the raw plasticizers in place creating a thin layer of a vinyl-like substance. Liquid Vinyl is primarily used as a base adhesive combined with fiberglass Mesh as well as the liquid mixture.

It may also be used to permanently glue vinyl together. The ketones actually dissolve the vinyl to which it has been applied and when pressed together and allowed to dry thoroughly the two pieces of vinyl actually become one. Liquid Vinyl strengthens as it cures. The longer the liquid vinyl is in position the stronger it becomes. Liquid vinyl dries in about 3-5 minutes in 60 to 70-degree temperature, with low humidity.

Relevant Articles
1. “Leather Articles Hyperlinks”

2. “Leather Upholstery Type Surface Identification”

3.  “Reference sources and bibliography used for leather articles “

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