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Chemicals supplier LANXESS upgrades leathers technology

Jun '07
Chemicals group LANXESS has developed a technology for upgrading leathers with structural defects such as veininess and looseness. Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer, head of Product Development & Application in LANXESS's Leather business unit, presented the new process for the wet end at the IULTCS world conference in Washington, USA, on June 23.

This technology, which was developed over the past 15 months in LANXESS's Product Development and Application Department in Leverkusen and for which a patent has now been applied, is to be launched on the market under the name Levotan X-Cel. The product consists of a special polymer containing thermally expandable microcapsules which is added during the retanning process.

The microcapsules penetrate along with the polymer into the loose fiber structure and voids, for example, blood vessels, where they are subsequently expanded by means of a process that is also new. The microcapsules selectively fill the loose fiber structure and various voids in the leather, thereby making it fuller and giving it a more uniform structure.

“Levotan X-Cel is an ingenious combination of chemistry and physics which is ideal for leather,” said Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer. “Having conducted numerous trials with the new technology in our technical service center, we are now ready to introduce it to the leather industry.

We want to work together with our customers to find new, individual solutions to their specific problems.” The Leather business unit is therefore installing pilot plants for processing 'X-Cel leathers' in its laboratories in each geographical region so that it can carry out initial trials on customers' material in situ.

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