Leather is often refurbished simply to meet ever changing colour trends, rather than as a result of poor quality
This article was first published in the 2018 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
In my many years of experience working on a wide range of cruise and ferry projects I have witnessed countless times professionals chasing a low price to meet their budget, only to discover in years to come that they actually added costs for the operator.
Leather products are a great example. The most low-quality leathers or PU materials last no more than one to three years depending on the traffic. This forces the operator to refurbish their interior all too often.
Natural leather will last 5-15 years or longer, depending on the traffic. The life of a leather is often determined by the maintenance and can last longer than expected when taken care of. In fact, leather is often refurbished simply to meet ever changing colour trends, rather than as a result of poor quality. It’s for this reason that we’re now starting to see a change in thinking, moving to high quality, which equates to lower costs in the long term.
The aviation industry is ahead of many other industries with this mindset. Due to the low cost competition, it has embraced high quality leather due to its low cost and quick and easy maintenance. More and more airlines in Europe choose leather for their entire cabins in regional flights in order to lower the cost. With the vast numbers of cruise ships being built worldwide, it won’t be long before the marine industry catches up.
There are a number of things to look for when choosing a high-quality leather. First, you should look for a natural grain. The tear strength of leather is all in the top grain of the skin. A corrected grain leather or a PU material do not have a top grain and therefore they show a low performance in tear strength. With a natural grain leather you’ll get a long lasting, durable and comfortable leather that breathes and is pleasant to sit on for hours.
Elmo Leather supplies both aniline and semi-aniline leathers to the marine industry, where aniline is made to provide maximum comfort in terms of touch and softness, whereas semi-aniline would provide comfort and easy maintenance.
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