At its European manufacturing headquarters in Oudenaarde, Belgium, Samsonite is using grades from Huntsman's Irogran range to produce parts for its Lite-Locked, Lite-Cube, Cosmolite, Firelite and Chronolite luggage carriers.
Whether travelling for business or pleasure, Samsonite customers have high expectations – they want premium quality luggage that is robust, lightweight and durable. To meet this demand, the company is constantly seeking to improve its customers' travel experiences with innovative features that increase ease-of-use, convenience and peace of mind.
In its relentless pursuit for innovation and quality, Samsonite was keen to start sourcing more of its raw materials from Huntsman. Specifically it wanted an extremely reliable new material to bond to a polyamide handle. Samsonite's product development experts were very clear about their requirements. The material needed to offer good tear strength that could withstand cuts, abrasion and general wear while being soft to touch and aesthetically attractive.
Following recommendations by IMCD, one of Huntsman's key distribution partners, Samsonite decided to run trials with a plasticizer-free Irogran TPU that forms excellent bonds to other materials.
The Irogran TPU in question offered all the processing properties Samsonite required, including high shear rate resistance in the tool during molding and good strength at higher demolding temperatures. As well as being soft to touch with a matt, dry-feel surface quality, the finished material has an attractive appearance. It is also resistant to scratching, marring and doesn't show sweat marks or residues.
Supported by Huntsman's technical development team, Samsonite ran a series of product trials. Following positive results, Irogran TPU was introduced for full-scale production of handles for Samsonite's premium Lite-Locked and Lite-Cube models. In addition, Samsonite has switched to using the same Irogran TPU material for the production of hinges on its Cosmolite, Firelite and Chronolite models.
Rik Hillaert, Vice President, Manufacturing and Development at Samsonite, said: "Continual innovation is key to Samsonite's success. We are constantly striving to improve our products with new designs and features, adapted to the needs of consumers in different markets, while staying true to the Group's core values of lightness, strength and functionality. We have been very pleased with Huntsman's technical support and delighted with the results achieved with Irogran TPU."
Samsonite International S.A. is the world's largest travel luggage company, with a heritage dating back more than 100 years. Its core Samsonite brand is one of the most renowned travel luggage brands in the world. The company has developed and widely commercialized numerous innovations in luggage, establishing key industry trends and adapting to evolving consumer needs. Its products retail at more than 46,000 points of sale in over 100 countries worldwide.
Irogran is the registered brand name for a broad range of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from Huntsman. Delivering excellent performance, even in extreme environments, TPU materials in the Irogran portfolio are renowned for being tough, reliable and extremely versatile. With a grade available to suit most design and product development challenges, Irogran is hard to beat as a universally useful solution for injection molding and extrusion projects.