Futuristic inflatable vest showcases TPU Film applications in apparel

A futuristic concept thermal insulation vest showcases how our Platilon® TPU Films can help apparel brands meet rising customer expectations. Innovative film solutions provide waterproofing and printability using partly bio-based materials, applicable to outdoor fabrics, labels, and hotmelt emblems.
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Rising customer expectations in apparel demand innovative TPU Film solutions

Sports equipment designers and apparel manufacturers are facing ever higher performance expectations from customers. As outdoor gear is expected to deliver reliable cold weather protection, there's also a growing demand from customers for lightweight, comfortable, and waterproof products without compromising style. As a result, inflatable air pockets are increasingly preferred for heat insulation. 

Our goal was to create a concept vest jacket that meets modern standards for performance and style. With this demonstrator, we aimed to showcase how our versatile, printable TPU Films can be applied in a futuristic thermal insulation vest. Ensuring that the concept vest met all functional requirements, including air retention and durability, was paramount. In addition, it also had to accommodate processes such as printing, welding, and hotmelt lamination.

Platilon® TPU Films enable inflatable, waterproof outer layer with inner fleece lining

The outer shell of this cutting-edge “airbag vest” is made of an inflatable  network of interconnected air pockets in bubbles of varying sizes, made with semi-transparent, lightweight Platilon® U 9122 with a 150 µm thickness. 

To increase the textile insulation, the wearer can simply blow into an air inlet that’s discreetly placed inside the vest collar, using body warmth to raise the temperature by expanding the air pockets. Laboratory results show this is as effective for insulation as 40 grams of 90% down filling. These lightweight, expandable, and airtight properties also make this film grade interesting for applications such as kite bladders and safety vests.  

Moreover, the demo vest incorporates partly bio-based materials for sustainability and functionality. The inner layer, crafted from Platilon® U 4201 CQ EC film fused with fleece-like fabric, offers durability, comfort, and reduced environmental impact. This alternative material exhibits a 29% lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) than its fossil-based counterparts and contains up to 57% bio-based carbon content*, meeting ASTM D6866 standards. It seamlessly integrates into existing production processes and can be customized with printed patterns on the outer layer.

Additionally, the flexibility of TPU Films allows for effortless deflation, enabling the vest to be conveniently folded, rolled up, and stored in a compact bag, enhancing practicality while maintaining sustainability.

(*Typical values calculated based on supplier data and own verification measurements according to ASTM D6866:2008, dependent on film thickness and composition.)

Partly bio-based TPU Films lower the carbon footprint for more sustainable apparels 

Finding ways to increase sustainability is a major challenge in apparel and sports design. We are committed to lowering our own carbon footprint and aiming to offer our customers a more sustainable alternative to standard films that exhibits comparable or even better properties, while reducing the carbon footprint of the final product.

The partly bio-based Platilon® U 4201 CQ EC is one of several bio-based variants, forming the waterproof fabric in this inflatable vest. This technique involves applying a thin layer of TPU Film to the fabric, which provides waterproofing while allowing breathability. This method is often used for seam sealing in sports, outdoor gear, rainwear, and other items requiring water resistance.
The zipper puller in this concept vest is made with the Desmopan® TPU resin, available in grades with bluesign® certification. This TPU resin also integrates the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC)-certified renewable feedstocks with up to 60% biomass content. The ISCC is a global system for tracking renewable inputs through unified chemical processes, and then allocating those inputs to specific finished products. The zipper itself is attached to the vest with TPU hotmelt adhesive film, underlining the versatility of polyurethane films.

Platilon® and Dureflex® TPU Films enable seamless aesthetics and easy printing in a range of applications

Clean, seamless designs, enhanced branding and clear information labelling are all vital in sporting apparel and thermal insulation textiles. Our Platilon® TPU Film range offers grades engineered for each of these applications. 

Platilon® HL 9007 seam sealing tape enables the vest’s styling without any visible stitches. Our printable Dureflex® PS 8000, also shows how TPU Films can simplify emblem label design and the production of shoe tongue labels. These printable films are an optimal solution for emblems and labels, which present major branding opportunities for apparel makers. They also communicate important details like sizes, product ID numbers, and care instructions. 

Future-proof textile design must also include the potential for flexible printed circuits (FPC) and flexible printed electronics (FPE), so our transparent, functional Platilon® U 9122 hotmelt lamination film is created specifically to integrate working electronics. As part of our extensive range of TPU Films, it highlights just how versatile and useful Platilon® and Dureflex® can be in creating innovative apparel, sporting goods, and sportswear.

Our TPU Films pave the way for innovation and sustainability. Combining seamless design with functionality, the components of this concept vest create possibilities, where style meets sustainability.

Chris Zhang

Segment Manager APAC, Consumer & Industrial Solutions, Specialty Films, Covestro

Key benefits

  • High-performance: Platilon® TPU Films provide excellent waterproofing, and stretchable durability.
  • Airtightness: Platilon® Films offer airtightness, ensuring comfort in various temperatures.
  • Design freedom:  Versatile TPU Films enable seamless designs and enhanced functionality.
  • More sustainable: Partly bio-based grades help reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Versatile:  TPU Films can support design to be inflatable, waterproof, and attach seamlessly.


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Platilon® TPU Films for textiles

Platilon® TPU Films can enhance your apparel and sports equipment with high-performance solutions.

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In the meantime, feel free to discover our innovative material solutions!

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