[YesAuto Harem Series] I believe you have heard about the leather in the car more than once. Is it true that the leather that needs to be selected for thousands of dollars? Leather and man-made materials are always stupidly unclear? The same is leather, it is said that it is also divided into good and poor? Which is better, Nappa or semianiline? This time let's talk about the leather-related things on the car.
Like the previous issues, this time we will take you to the first line of production related to automotive leather and leather. This time, let’s learn the simple basics first. After reading it, you will know how to distinguish whether the seat is leather or not, and you will also understand what kind of leather is good.
In the next issue, we will start with the most basic raw materials and witness the entire processing process. Finally, let's uncover the so-called hidden rules of the industry.
● Although we always talk about leather, this is actually a different thing. In short, leather is processed leather, and the latter can only be collected from animals;
● Leather and leather are both good and bad. The higher the grade, the less processing and the closer to the natural texture to the touch;
● Nowadays, many car companies will mislead everyone through various means when propagating, how to distinguish whether there is a “true” word
Maybe it is because I have touched a lot of cars, so my colleague Xiao Li is very entangled in buying a car. After undergoing a series of strict selections compared to the selection of concubines and drafts, a hard-core off-road vehicle was finally included in the bag. When it’s okay, I show up with us, but problems also follow…
I thought that when I bought a car, I paid special attention to the seat materials, but when I got it, I found that it was not exactly the same as I imagined. This made Xiao Li very annoyed. Is this a leather seat? Why do different parts feel different to the touch? In order to solve the mystery, we started this journey.
● Leather·Leather·Man-made materials
I believe that when you buy a car, everyone has encountered a situation where the word XX is written in the configuration sheet. It often costs a lot of money to get these configurations, but do you know? The leather written on these configuration sheets is probably not real. The leather we often talk about is actually two different things.
Of course, the skin peeled from the animal cannot be directly wrapped on the surface of the seat. It needs a series of physical and chemical treatments to stabilize the structure.
In the 1980s, there was a trend of man-made materials mentioning leather materials. Compared with leather products, the cost of man-made materials is only one-fifth or less, which greatly meets consumer demand for leather products.
● How to distinguish?
Since leather products have better quality, higher price and value, and artificial materials on the market are mixed, everyone must be curious to know how to distinguish leather products from artificial materials. Through the following simple methods, you can find the difference between the two.
There are many ways to distinguish between leather and man-made materials, but among them, fire, tearing and other methods are more difficult to use in reality because they are destructive. In contrast, the method of touching and observing the section is more practical.
● Is leather good or bad?
Most products are classified into high and low grades, and automotive leather is no exception. Although the area of the whole skin embryo is not small, the usable area is not as large as imagined. Coupled with the interference of the growth environment, a good skin is not as easy to obtain as imagined.
The quality of cowhide in different parts is also different. For example, the fibers of the back and buttocks are tightly woven, and the mechanical strength is relatively high; while the fat on the abdomen is thicker, after a series of processing. It has greater ductility and is looser. For bags that require more rigidity, they will not choose the skin of the abdomen, and the formability is not good.
In addition, no matter whether cattle are raised in captivity or free-range, they will inevitably encounter mosquito bites, beatings, and fences during their growth, not to mention genetic differences. The pursuit of automotive leather is as high as possible of consistency, so for some skin embryos with obvious defects, it needs to go through multiple layers of treatment to cover the flaws.
In the current industry, the level of automotive leather is mainly judged by the amount of processing. The more processing, the worse the state of the skin itself. On the contrary, the less the processing, the better the quality of the skin itself.
○ Heavy and light processing
As we mentioned earlier, no matter how carefully raised, the skin embryo itself will have certain defects. If it is not processed, putting it directly on the seat will affect the visual effect. Therefore, mankind invented methods including sanding and adding a covering coating layer. At present, the most used in car interiors is heavy and lightly processed leather.
Even after treatment, the usable area of a piece of leather is only 60% at most. In contrast, the nearly 100% utilization rate of synthetic materials has greatly reduced the cost. In terms of price, taking an ordinary medium-sized car as an example, the cost of using leather materials for the entire car seat is about 270 yuan/square meter, and the man-made material is about 57 yuan/square meter.
In the product introductions of some luxury brands, you can often see the term Nappa leather. The delicate visual effects, soft touch, and light texture of the skin are the characteristics that it is proud of. Compared with the most entry-level heavy and light-treated leather mentioned earlier, the quality of Nappa-level leather has improved significantly.
Napa and Nappa, who is Li Kui and who is Li Gui?
Although it is very common, it is difficult for anyone to clarify the relationship between Napa and Nappa. First of all, they are indeed related to leather, but the rare Napa today refers to a special kind of leather.
In 1875, NAPA LEATHERS 1869 SAWYER TANNING CO used vegetable tanning agents and alum salt to make very soft and delicate leather, named Napa leather.
Nappa, as everyone knows today, refers to the reduction of processing methods and the pursuit of processing and processing methods that show the texture of the leather itself.
○ Semi-aniline and aniline
Of course, there is no limit to humans’ pursuit of texture. Even though Nappa is relatively heavy in terms of visual effects and tactility, and light repairs are excellent, but for ultra-luxury brands such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce, semi-aniline, Extreme materials such as aniline meet their tonality.
The coating material on the surface of semi-aniline and aniline leather materials is only 12μm thick. At the same time, it also needs to meet the demanding requirements of car manufacturers such as stretch resistance, wear resistance, discoloration resistance, and easy cleaning, which shows the quality of the material itself. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to call them the diamonds on the leather crown.
● Where is leather used in the car?
Compared with man-made materials, the leather preparation process is longer. In other words, from a cost perspective, leather seats are undoubtedly higher. Therefore, most of the models currently on the market that promote the use of leather materials in the interiors are not as kind as expected.
For a long time, we have bound leather seats with high-end and luxury cars. However, through actual interviews, we found that some luxury brands no longer use leather materials or are rapidly reducing the use of leather materials. The trend of cost reduction is not unrelated.
The following words:
Leather is more difficult to obtain because the skin embryo is natural. Compared with the manufacturing process, the leather is more difficult to process, and the price and value are higher. In recent years, with the rapid development of man-made material manufacturing technology, many new materials with some properties that meet or approach leather have appeared on the market. As consumers, we are also lost in these propaganda. I believe you have understood the method of discrimination through this article. So, how does a piece of leather become a seat surface? Don't worry, we have also conducted an interview with the entire industry chain this time. Friends who are interested in this aspect, please look forward to the following articles.
[YesAuto Harem Series] People always ask some “soul questions” when I was young. The questions I had for a long time when I was young included “Why is there no cow hair on leather shoes and leather sofas?” “What color leather comes from what color? The cow?”…No matter what the field, it’s a big topic to really get into the conversation. Leather, a seemingly common material, has a similar story volume. In the last issue, our definition of leather , Features, and applications in the automotive industry; today I will take you to follow in my footsteps into the leather manufacturing factory, how the leather seats and some leather products on your car are manufactured , You will know after reading it.
This issue of the “Harem” series was completed by my colleague Tang Chao. I will be responsible for taking everyone into the pasture, searching for the source of the leather, walking the factory, visiting the whole process of turning a piece of hide into leather, and sharing it with you. Dry goods. The Tang Dynasty has already revealed the true and false pros and cons of leather products in the Leather Journey (1) for everyone, and then we will reveal the industry secrets for everyone, so that you can easily become a “goods-knowledge”. Owner! Stay tuned!
Where did the leather seats come from: Is the steak delicious?
Reason: What if these skins are not used?
Here I will once again come up with the topic of sustainable development to explain the topic of “raw hide”. I believe you have been listening to this term for ten years or more, and your ears have become cocooned, but this is indeed a real problem facing all mankind.
part2 factory part
If it is a visual analogy, the processing of hides in these large drums is like washing clothes, and there will be an obvious state change after each process, and after this drumming process for hair removal, the state of the hides will change. It must be clean.
The next step is to enter a key process: the depilated hides are layered. That's right, that's what you think in your mind, commonly known as the first layer of skin and the second layer of skin.
Tips: The first layer of skin? Two layers of leather?
The first layer of leather is located on the outermost layer of the cowhide surface. It refers to cow, sheep, pig skins with granular surface (pores). The leather surface has natural scars and blood tendons, which is also called “upper skin”. The leather is the most flexible and smooth, with different thicknesses. The first layer of leather is not only wear-resistant, but also has good air permeability. Car leather seats are all top-layer leather.
The two-layer leather is the “lower layer” obtained by splitting the rawhide through a peeling machine. The first layer is used to make full-grain skin or trimming leather. The second layer is made into a two-layer leather product through a series of processes such as painting or filming. The degree of wear resistance is not bad, the air permeability will be inferior to the first layer of leather, most of the products are relatively cheap, but it still has certain characteristics of natural elasticity and process plasticity, and the second layer of leather products after fine processing are also used With high quality and value.
It may be difficult for you to remember these complicated processes, but here are a few points in fact: we usually don’t just define the leather grade by the three words “first layer of skin”, many factors among them feel the final leather quality; and The innate quality of genuine high-quality leather hides dominates more.
Although we have gone through the primary tanning process and turned the raw hides into leather, the facts have proved that using one tanning agent for multiple tanning is much better than a single tanning with a large dose. , Separate the first layer and the second layer, the middle layer of the first layer of leather is exposed again, which can better fill and cover the leather layer during retanning.
The mystery of retanning/dying
Retanning can also improve the acid resistance, alkali resistance, enzyme resistance, and oxidation resistance of the leather, and it will also have better performance in resistance to washing, sweat and soaping. And according to the requirements of car companies, some special processes will be appropriately carried out during the retanning process. For example, the case of adding eucalyptus leaves to Volvo leather is to allow the leather to naturally emit a soothing eucalyptus smell in the car, so that driving Passengers can relax their spirits better.
As for dyeing, it can significantly increase the variety of leather products, better meet consumers' preferences for different colors, and play a great role in following color trends and following up the trend. Most raw hides are tanned. It needs to be dyed, and in addition to the colorful and beautiful colors, it also has a corresponding contribution to the “manufacturing performance” of the final product.
For most ordinary people, it is rare to have the opportunity to visit the leather factories of the first-line OE. This is a rare and precious opportunity. From my personal point of view, I also hope that everyone can see more details. For leather products, especially the leather seats that we often come into contact with, it is even more necessary for ordinary consumers to understand these details. After all, there are not a few people who are willing to spend money to choose and match, and in the next issue, we will continue to deepen! Go straight to the final process of leather seats: finishing! At the same time, continue to share the knowledge of Jianpi! See you next time!
[YesAuto 用车宝典] In the last episode, we reorganized the source and application reasons of leather products, and took everyone to explore the process of making leather from raw hides. However, for the finished product, there is a stable and reliable Leather is far from enough. Finished leather has higher requirements for surface finishing. Phoenix Nirvana depends on this level! And different grades of leather will be handled differently, and the final fate is even different. Is it natural beauty that can be broken? Or cosmetic beauty concealer powder? See the result in this issue!
Tips: What is Nappa leather?
Now that we are talking about embossing, we just have a brief talk with you about Nappa in this section to show your righteous listening.
First of all, Nappa is just a craft, not the name of leather. Napa is leather. You read it right. Leather should be called Napa. Speaking of Napa, one has to mention the innovative leather technology adopted by the Sawyer Tannery Company in Napa County, California in 1875. They used vegetable tanning agents and alum salt tanning to make leather with a very soft and delicate hand. Hence the name Napa leather.
Later, the company went bankrupt, and the word “Napa Leathers” was gradually forgotten. Later, this kind of craft flowed to South Korea and was called Nappa craft again. After that, some car companies also began to use soft and delicate leather products called Nappa leather, but today, Nappa seems to be broken. , Whether it is synthetic leather or real leather, as long as the effect is close, I want to rely on Nappa. But in fact , it needs a lot of innate conditions to truly become a Nappa-level finished product, and it is created by excellent hides, which we mentioned in the previous content.
Editor's summary: Leather goods/Human's return to nature
At this point, our factory part is over. Is there a new understanding of the birth of leather? Humans have been eating meat since tens of thousands of years ago, and animal skins have always been a by-product, and have not changed until today. The use of genuine leather to make products can not only reduce the burden on nature, but also help those who chase quality and texture. A better choice for the crowd, I have to say that there is really no “mutilation” to pick.
Of course, leather products are good, but they are also divided into three, six or nine grades. Depending on the process requirements, the final products are also very different. I believe that by the end of this period, you will have some furs on how to identify the leather. In the next issue, we will continue to sort out for you from an industry perspective: the meaning of leather! See you next time.
[YesAuto Use Car Collection] Despite different budgets, most Chinese consumers are very concerned about the application of interior materials, especially leather materials. Car companies will also use it as a bright spot when propagating. However, through the content of our first three issues, everyone must have discovered that the amount of leather materials in the car is now decreasing. So, what kind of story is hidden behind this?
● From the data point of view, the leather industry is trending stable, but the total amount of automotive leather has shown a characteristic of declining year by year. On the other hand, Chinese consumers have a high degree of recognition of leather. So what is the reason for this contrast?
● For auto companies, competition is becoming increasingly fierce, and they have tried repeatedly to gain advantage through price. Therefore, they can only continue to reduce costs. The use of lower cost man-made synthetic materials is an indisputable trend, which is also one of the reasons for the decrease in the proportion of leather;
We often say that automobiles are the crystallization of many industrial chains, and leather products for automobiles are an important part of it. From the perspective of the industrial chain, it involves upstream breeding, midstream processing, and downstream manufacturing.
Due to the relatively single development model of my country's animal husbandry industry, although there is no shortage of large-scale breeding enterprises, there are still a considerable number of individual free-range breeding. For the leather processing industry that needs a huge quantity and stable quality, the cost of imported leather in recent years is often lower than that of domestic products.
In tanning, the commonly used raw material skins are pigskin, cowhide and sheepskin. Among them, cowhide has the advantages of large stretch, fine skin, high tensile strength and tear strength, so it is mostly used in car interiors. Therefore, the sources of covering materials for leather seats and door panels are all cowhide.
The annual output of my country's leather industry is about 740 million square meters, accounting for about 25% of the world's total output;
However, the production of leather for the automotive industry only accounts for 5%, which is about half of the world average.
At present, the source of car leather is divided into two categories: domestic and imported. The cowhide can be divided into yellow cowhide, buffalo cowhide, yak cowhide, etc. Among them, yellow cowhide has fine pores, relatively uniform thickness in each part, and small gap between different parts on the same skin, and the final processing effect is relatively good, so it is most used in leather products .
On the whole, leather used to be mostly used in traditional fields such as leather shoes and furniture. In recent years, the market for shoe upper leather and furniture leather has become stable and mature. With the vigorous development of the automotive industry, people have requirements for the quality and grade of automotive interiors. Gradually improved, leather seats are becoming more and more popular among consumers.
Since 2008, the production and sales of state-owned enterprises have shown a steady upward trend, and with the improvement of people's living standards in recent years, consumers buying luxury brand models have increased significantly compared with before, and their demand for leather products by automobile enterprises has also become stronger. Data from the China Leather Association shows that domestic automobile leather production has shown the same ups and downs as automobile production.
From the perspective of China and the global overall leather market, automotive leather is a huge individual cake, but the current state of the industry is not satisfactory. The market is huge but there are many hidden dangers? Does it sound contradictory, what's the problem?
● Current situation and problems
Although whether it is the media evaluating vehicles, or when ordinary consumers choose to buy a car, they will touch the interior with their hands, and use the soft, hard, and delicate level to judge the quality of the important considerations. However, due to the lack of identification knowledge of ordinary consumers, it is difficult for everyone to distinguish material properties.
In other words, it is difficult for ordinary consumers without training to find out whether the material in the car is synthetic or leather. This kind of information inequality has pushed some car companies to gradually reduce the use of leather products in the car, the main reason is cost.
Although there is still a significant gap between man-made synthetic materials and leather products in terms of feel, durability, and comfort, from a cost perspective, the advantages of man-made synthetic materials are huge. Taking an ordinary medium-sized car as an example, the cost of using leather material for the entire car seat is about 210 yuan/square meter, and the man-made synthetic material is about 50 yuan/square meter.
From the perspective of car companies, profit is the first priority, so it is a good way to reduce the cost to change the seat material in the car to artificial synthetic material when updating the model.
The work of reducing costs is not just a big mountain on the head of car companies. For suppliers who provide products to car companies, they are the giants who are silently under pressure.
You may say that there are many ways to save costs, but compared to making a fuss about the engine, gearbox or active and passive safety structure, the method of replacing seat materials has obvious effects on the one hand, and on the other hand, it has an obvious effect on the acceleration and braking of the vehicle. The performance has almost no impact.
Today is an information age. By comparing the performance of domestic and foreign models, consumers can easily know whether the vehicle has shrunk in powertrain and configuration. In contrast, most of the time, the seat looks like only two kinds of artificial synthetic materials and leather. Therefore, ordinary consumers can't distinguish between genuine and fake seat fabrics, which has become a good way for manufacturers to reduce costs.
In the end, we saw the strange phenomenon in front of us. On the one hand, consumers are eager to spend more budget to buy leather products. On the other hand, the amount of finished leather produced by midstream processing companies is shrinking each year.
Of course, the cause of this situation is not only the pursuit of interests by car companies. From some perspectives, we, who are excessively pursuing low prices, are the important culprits for this result.
Sometimes, there is a certain proportional relationship between expensive and good.
● What is the attitude of auto companies?
Looking at the previous data feedback and problem analysis, it seems that the contradiction is mainly concentrated in car companies. So next time you look at the configuration table on the official website, you must keep your eyes open and study each word carefully.
Those materials with the word leather are the materials we imagined from animals, and those with English name modification are often the cover of synthetic materials. Of course, each car company has different interpretation methods and specific problems. detailed analysis.
The words written at the back:
So far, this leather journey has come to an end. From the beginning to distinguish between true and false, to subsequent manufacturing processes and processes, and then to the development of the industry in this period, it is not difficult to see that the leather industry is significantly affected by the cost control of vehicle companies. I hope this journey of exploration can help you to brighten your eyes when choosing to buy leather-related automotive products. If you have anything else you want to know, please leave a message below and see you next time!