Lectra says it is using a new VectorAuto iX6 machine to cut synthetics, with a precision head to produce parts for interior and seat components.

The supplier maintains its new cutter increases cutting capacity by 20% or more compared to models currently available on the market. The increase in productivity is achieved by minimising the risk of layers fusing, which enables a greater number of plies to be cut.

By optimising the marker to reduce spacing between parts, the new solution also enables potential material gains of up to 3%, which can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year per cutting line.

Japanese vehicle-seating cut parts supplier, Ark has already achieved increased production volume since its recent acquisition of the new cutter.

"The high degree of cutting accuracy enabled by the blade stress control of Vector iX6 will allow us to increase our production capability by nearly 20%," said Ark president, Kiichi Mizoue.

The scarcity of leather continues to drive up the price of bovine hides in the automotive upholstery industry as demand outstrips supply.

The surging price of leather has led a growing number of automotive suppliers to turn to imitation materials. Cheaper and more resistant to extreme temperatures and humidity, new varieties of vinyl and other synthetics are gaining popularity among consumers, especially in Asia. 

However, newly developed synthetic materials used in components such as headrests and armrests, present a wide range of challenges, notes Lectra. The shapes required to produce increasingly sophisticated seat designs are gradually becoming more complex.

The technical limitations of fabric cutters restrict the number of plies that can be cut due to the risk of fusion. Additionally, the extra spacing necessary to achieve small, intricate parts can result in material losses and low cutter productivity. 

Lectra's says its new Vector model is designed to overcome complexities involved in cutting imitation materials and also benefits from technology, such as predictive maintenance, which ensures a high machine availability rate of up to 98%, and Eclipse, Lectra's patented continuous cutting functionality.