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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.