Comparing Leatherite
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Comparing Leatherite  Strapping to the Imported Product


In the forty years that Leatherite have been manufacturing synthetic leather strapping, our products and processes have continued to evolve and we continue to develop new innovative products to meet our customer’s needs. In recent times our customers have provided us with feedback confirming what we all know; the market is being flooded with imported strapping. We are very confident in the product that we make at Leatherite and we regularly compare our product to the imports, both at the budget end of the market and also to those claiming to be world leaders in the market. Now we believe it is time to share our findings. So let’s have a good look at the competition, very close up and personal!

At the Budget End of the Market

The first sample to be put under the microscope (literally) comes out of Asia. This product is priced very keenly and, frankly, tack made from Leatherite strapping cannot compete on price with this product, however does this make the import value for money? The sample of the imported product available to us was 19mm wide with the approximate thickness of our Apollo range, so the Leatherite product selected for the comparison was 19mm Apollo. 

Tear Test Comparison

Leatherite tear testThe opening test that we conduct on our own product is the tear test. In this test we measure how much force is required to strip the outer polymer from the internal webbing using our Lloyd Instruments EZ50 testing unit. Although we have previously conducted tests on many imported products from around the world, the results of this test were very unique. As you can see from the resultant graph, (import in black, Leatherite in red), the bond strength was very inconsistent and not close to the force required to separate the Leatherite strapping. The photographs of the stripped webbing confirm what the graph implies, there is not a uniform application of the adhesive. One of our customers has seen first hand what premature de-lamination can do when a rider’s bridal failed through de-lamination after only two hours of riding. With the sharp edge of the polymer causing the horse discomfort, the rider had no choice but to stop until a replacement was found, which is not always possible. 

                    

Imported strapping glue failure

Close up of imported strapping

Tensile Test Comparison

The second test that we regularly use to monitor the quality of our product is the tensile test, where we literally pull the product until it breaks, measuring the force required and the distance travelled. The graphs below show the tests for the imported product versus the equivalent Leatherite product. The Leatherite product has a significant 25% advantage when it comes to tensile strength over the import. For products such as reins or billet straps where the tensile strength of the product is critical, the strength of the imported product would need to be taken into consideration and may be of some concern. 

Tensile test results imported strapping Leatherite tensile test 19mm Apollo

Eye Cycle Test Comparison

The final test that we put our own product through is the eye cycle test. This is a critical test that replicates how the strapping will stand up to stress and tension with the introduction of a buckle. When testing our product, we use a range of loads and repetitions to ensure our product will stand up to the harshest treatment. We selected one set of test parameters for this comparison. The imported product failed in the first repetition with the webbing tearing prior reaching the 120 kg of force set for the test. By comparison the Leatherite product pictured was barely marked after completing 500 repetitions. 

Leatherite quality comparison :: imported product Leatherite strapping :: Quality testing

Conclusions

Although there is a short term financial gain by purchasing imported strapping or tack at the low end of the market, it is likely that this gain will be forfeited by the premature failure of the product when compared to the quality of the Australian made Leatherite product. 

Comparing to World Class Strapping

The previous comparison has been made with a product at the low end of the market. The product is significantly cheaper than Leatherite strapping and one might say that you are getting what you pay for. So how does Leatherite strapping compare with imports at the high end of the market? For this comparison we have used a high quality strapping made in the United States. It is a brand which is world renown for the quality of the product. We applied the same tests as we did with the cheaper import

Tear Test Comparison

Leatherite comparison :: Adhesion testing

For this series of tests we have once again selected an equivalent Leatherite product, our PN series in 25mm. We are currently making significant advances in our adhesive blend and are achieving much higher results than the graph indicates, however at the time of the test with our current adhesive the Leatherite product (shown in black) still has a significant advantage over the import (shown in red). It is worth noting that, compared to the cheaper import, the adhesion levels of both products are at a consistent level throughout the test. 

Leatherite quality comparison

Tensile Test Comparison

The tensile test comparison was closer in this case, with the imported product achieving within 15% of the tensile strength of the Leatherite product. 

Leatherite tensile comparison Leatherite tensile testing

Eye Cycle Test Comparison

The same parameters were used for the eye cycle test as was used for the cheaper import. Although the world class product faired better than the one cycle achieved in the early test, it also failed to reach the 500 repetitions set for the test. The product tore in less than 100 cycles, compared to the Leatherite product that was barely marked after the 500 cycles. 


Imported synthetic strapping Leatherite eye tear test

Conclusions

This product faired substantially better than the cheap Asian import, as one might expect. It did not, however, surpass the Leatherite product in any aspect of our testing. In some areas such as the eye tear, it fell well short of the comparable product made at Leatherite. It is surprising then that people are actually paying more for this product than they can purchase the Australian made Leatherite product and it supports our long held belief that the we are making a product which is truly world class and represents very good value for money.