General Silicones offers green alternative to toxic leather and leatherette materials used for marine upholstery

Hsinchu, Taiwan – Silicone product manufacturer General Silicones (GS) shares how its Compo-SiL® technology is a green alternative to toxic leather and leatherette materials used for marine upholstery. The extreme environment of the marine environment so far required upholstery companies to rely on faux leather products based on expanded vinyl. Unfortunately, those products are a mix of vinyl plastic and a high percentage of PVC, a plastic notorious for its toxicity during manufacturing, disposal, and as a microplastic source.

Michael Lin, CEO of GS, said: “The unique chemistry of silicone rubber makes it a green and ideal material for extreme outdoor environments. I’m proud to see how our Compo-SiL® adhesion technology allows bringing those advantages to the nautical world”.

Silicone rubber is a green and eco-friendly material. It is based on silicon, the second most abundant element on Earth. Silicone is non-toxic and free of PPA, lead, latex, and halogens. Silicone rubber does not decay into microplastic waste. When burned or disposed of in landfills, silicone rubber will convert back into inorganic, harmless ingredients: amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Thus, it does not pose a threat to the environment, wildlife, and ecosystems.

Marine leather needs to be a solid and durable material for working and fishing boats and provide comfort, high-quality aesthetic appeal leathers for yacht, cruise ships, and superyachts upholstery. Sustainable silicone rubber-based leather is maintenance-free and easy to clean. The ability to withstand the harsh sunlight and salt-rich ocean environment makes silicone rubber an excellent material to act as a protective marine surface. In addition, mildew does not grow on Compo-SiL®, and the material can be customized to have antibacterial properties.

GS developed the exclusive patented with its Compo-SiL® technology that allows strong and enduring adhesion of silicone rubber to nearly any surface. Using HMA or PUR adhesion, Compo-SiL® marine leather can be glued to metal, plastics and combined with other textiles in R2R manufacturing. These advantages make Compo-SiL® not only an excellent material for marine upholstery and wall coverings but also as decoration and the protection of any surfaces exposed to extreme outdoor conditions.

Silicone rubber is not sensitive to fast temperature changes, does not soften under dry heat, and remains flexible under extremely low temperatures. It does not degrade from solar radiation, does not stain, and is resistant to engine oil and fuel damage. As a result, is perfect for marine indoor and heavy-duty outdoor upholstery. This water-repellent leather can even be modified to offer enhanced anti-slip support from the movements by the ocean swell. As cover material, it protects the sub-surface material from aging and decay from the elements.

Direct exposure to intense UV radiation on high seas is a critical problem for plastic materials and dyes. However, the chemical properties of silicone rubber not only make it immune to decay from UV radiation, but it protects as well the dyes and colorations embedded in the silicone. As a result, product life is extended as fading and bleaching do not occur.

 With over 50 years of experience in silicone rubber manufacturing, GS modifies the properties of vegan leather to clients’ needs. The silicone leather surface texture is embossed to mimic the touch, feel, and look of soft natural leather for nautical interior design. It is ideal for cushions and gallery chairs for ship interiors. It is suitable for outdoor use for commercial and fishing boats. For cruise ship upholstery, the material is ideal for sun loungers, benches, seats, as the properties are altered to offer a more sturdy, robust feel. Embossment, colors, and thickness (0.1-0.35mm) are always adapted to the planned usage requirements. Clients can digitally print the modified layer of the Compo-SiL® leather sheets to include designs, logos, or instructional security information. The print is long-lasting, protected from decay from UV radiation and the outdoor elements by the unique properties of silicone rubber.