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History

In the early ‘70s the invention of Alcantara was a really "technologic breakthrough".


Its exceptional aesthetic, functional and sensory qualities meant that Alcantara was soon adopted by different sectors. Today it is one of the most invaluable, versatile materials, suited to any application.

To all intents and purposes, the invention of Alcantara marked a turning point. It became a product category in its own right and opened up endless new expressive possibilities for the design world.

Alcantara S.p.A. was established in 1972 precisely for the commercial use of this extraordinary invention.

Timeline

Miyoshi Okamoto, a Japanese research scientist with Toray Industries Inc., registers the patent for material manufacture. The Italian ENI Group (then ANIC Group) enters into a joint venture with Toray Industries Inc. for the commercial exploitation of the patent. This partnership leads to the establishment of the Italian company ANTOR S.p.A. (later Alcantara S.p.A.). Concomitantly, Alcantara starts to catch on and establishes itself in the clothing industry as an innovative, ground-breaking material. ANTOR S.p.A. becomes IGANTO S.p.A. (acronym of Italia, Giappone, ANic, TORay), thus endorsing the partnership between the two countries and their respective companies. The corporate capital is divided between ENI Group (51%) and Toray Industries Inc. (49%). First applications in the fashion accessories segment. The project for FIAT X 1/9 represents the first Alcantara automotive application ever, later on followed by some niche collaborations with Audi USA. 
A biological section for waste-water treatment is installed downstream of the production plant.
Start of the first application tests for the furnishing sector. IGANTO S.p.A. changes name and becomes ALCANTARA S.p.A. The divition of the corporate capital is unvaried. The collaboration with Lancia for the interiors of the Thema model usher in Alcantara's large diffusion in the car industry. A number of pilot plants (small-scale reproduction of industrial processes) are set up in the Nera Montoro production unit to support the Research Centre's activities. Setting-up of the CSA (Applications Development Centre) focused on in-house development of ad hoc solutions and technical application. ENI Group's shareholding is transferred en bloc to Toray Group, which immediately makes over 30% of the total to Mitsui Group.
Start of the first technical trials for surface customisation (embossing, lasering, electro-welding, resin coating, embroidery and many others).
Production capacity doubles following a radical reorganisation of plant and structure at the Nera Montoro site. Start of the first style diversification activities, the very first embryo of the Style Department. Total overhaul of the production lines. At the same time, Alcantara's standard width changes from 128 cm to a range of 142 to 160 cm. The CSA (Applications Development Centre) is enlarged, with an area devoted to new technology. An alliance with Nokia marks Alcantara's entry into consumer-electronics applications. The Style Department is officially set up. New achievements in terms of tailoring potential mean Alcantara initiates a new season in the furnishing sector. Launch of car seating product kits. Alcantara speeds up a corporate sustainability trajectory by launching a major revision and modernisation of its production processes to halve its CO2 emissions. Alcantara is therefore one of the first companies in Europe to be granted Carbon Neutrality certification (from cradle to gate). Alcantara draws up its first Sustainability Report.
Alcantara launches into an intense globalisation process, entering the U.S., Chinese and Japanese markets.
The Style Department acquires a 3D Design section to support its co-designing activities with customers.
Carbon Neutrality is extended to include the entire product life cycle, including usage and disposal (from cradle to grave) and emissions connected with corporate activities.
A state-of-the-art  phyto-treatment system is installed at the Nera Montoro production site.
The brand-new cogeneration plant begins working on the production site.
A’alcantara is launched, the first collection of bags and hi-tech accessories made by Alcantara.
Alcantara strengthens its presence in the consumer electronics industry through collaborations with major players such as Sennheiser and Leica, and developing its own line of hi-tech accessories by mid-December on sale in the Apple Store in the U.S.