Sustainable products and systems for the leather industry
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Cologne/Shanghai – From September 3 to 5, 2019, specialty chemicals company LANXESS will be at the All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) in Shanghai, China, to showcase its latest developments and innovations for the leather industry. The extensive range of products for manufacturing high-quality leather comprises chemicals for beamhouse operations, mineral and synthetic tanning materials, preservatives, retanning agents, leather softeners, dyes and numerous finishing chemicals. Especially for the automotive industry, LANXESS offers ideal solutions to the ever-expanding requirements for dealing with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), aldehydes and odors.
Focus on sustainable leather management
With its Sustainable Leather Management initiative, LANXESS has been systematically making sustainability a priority for its range of chemical products for leather production. The products for beamhouse operations make it possible to manufacture high-quality leather with significant improvements in sustainability. The Peltec UNF liming agent effectively reduces grain swelling, thereby preventing lime draw and growth marks, all without any need to add amines or other nitrogen-containing agents.
In Peltec X-Zyme SN, LANXESS offers a non-proteolytic, highly effective soaking enzyme that ensures rapid removal of hyaluronic acids. The product is used for soaking at a normal pH value of 9-10 and does not affect the collagen itself. As a result, it creates tight-grain leather even in the case of extended soaking.
In the production of crust leather, Levotan RV – a polymer softening material, developed to obtain a low VOC level – reduces aldehydes (including acetaldehyde) and the risk of chromium(VI) formation.
Levotan AM is a versatile amphoteric acrylic polymer suitable for retanning all leather items, including shoe upper, leather goods and automotive applications. It is also suitable for the production of waterproof leather and lends the material excellent fullness. Its amphoteric charge ensures rapid penetration and fixing and improves float exhaustion. It offers much better dye yield than conventional polymers and produces more intense and brilliant shades. Its characteristics make it ideal for the automotive industry.
Tangian UW is a new syntan with excellent light and heat-yellowing fastness for the production of white leather. Compared with conventional white syntans, this product also imparts a tight grain and good fullness, together with a more mellow feel.
Tangian VR is a next-generation multi-functional retanning agent and a suitable replacement for vegetable tannings. It enables good fullness and a tight grain, together with superior heat and light fastness. It is recommended for milled items, for which it produces an excellent, uniform grain pattern and medium softness. It gives the leather a light color that ensures good dyeability and consistent, bright colors.
Innovative products for automotive finishing
Aquaderm XL 1010 and Aquaderm XL 5010 are the latest developments from LANXESS in the field of polyisocyanate crosslinkers. These products enable further reductions in VOCs and odor, which is especially important in automotive applications.
Another of the new products is Aquaderm XL CD 40. This water-based, solvent-free carbodiimide crosslinker improves the coating’s physical properties, reduces tackiness during stacking and increases cut-through resistance during embossing.
Very low-solvent finishing systems call for high-performance agents to ensure the best possible material surface leveling.
Aquaderm Fluid E is a new addition to the LANXESS range of flow control agents. It is excellent at leveling and gives the leather exceptional physical properties.
Aquaderm Additive XF is a concentrated, BTEX-free high-performance silicone emulsion that meets the toughest standards on the market for physical properties such as abrasion resistance.
Functional coating systems
The company is now offering customized functional coatings under the Pellart brand as an integrated solution for various flexible substrates such as plastic films or industrial textiles such as microfibers. As a result, these substrates can be given all manner of surface characteristics.
The Leather business unit at LANXESS has decades of experience in leather as a material as well as the chemicals and technologies required for its manufacture and finishing. In particular, that includes products and processes for designing surfaces. “It therefore seems only logical to us to take this expertise along with our application technology and analytical capabilities and make them available to customers that do not process leather but do want to produce high-quality surfaces,” says Luis López-Remón, head of the business unit.
Different technologies, similar chemistry
With Pellart, LANXESS is responding to the rising demand for materials other than leather in the industries of many of its customers, including the automotive, upholstery and shoe industries. In their end applications, these materials complement each other with their respective characteristic profiles.
Although different technologies may be involved, the underlying chemistry of these coating systems is similar. Likewise, the testing methods and quality management systems involved are virtually identical. Above all, the requirements for the surfaces largely coincide. “All this opens up synergies that we want to utilize to the full in the future,” says Dr. Thomas Brackemeyer, head of the Organic Leather Chemicals (OLC) business line.
Foray into an attractive market segment
LANXESS regards itself as a provider of high-quality coating products that can be integrated directly in customer production processes. “We anticipate attractive growth rates in this market segment. We have already begun work on the first projects with customers even before launch, and our new range has been very well received. Our business expectations are correspondingly optimistic,” says López-Remón.
In connection with this, LANXESS has set up a team of experts possessing extensive experience in formulation development and application technology for coating systems on various carrier layers and that will also be available as a development partner for customers.
The automotive industry as a reference customer
Developments in the automotive industry have a special part to play for LANXESS in the launch of Pellart. The company has a wealth of experience collaborating with this sector. Its expectations with regard to quality, adherence to specifications, delivery reliability and cost-effectiveness are exceptionally high. “This means that successful projects in this field will be an important means of proving our expertise when it comes to persuading potential customers from other industries of the merits of Pellart,” says Brackemeyer.
You can find more detailed information about LANXESS products and services for the leather industry on the website at www.leather.lanxess.com.