The second phase of their plan came to fruition in June 2003 with the opening of their new European research and development facility at Mantes in France. The purchase of the surface protection and fluoroadditives business assets of Atofina from TotalFina-Elf gave them more than 40 new products under the Forafac and Foraperle brands to run alongside their own ranges and a manufacturing facility at the Villers-Saint Paul site, north east of Paris, also came as part of the deal. The Mantes site is located conveniently nearby.

To mark the opening, DuPont Chemical Solutions Enterprise invited their key European customers to a conference in Paris, followed by a visit to the new laboratories which are dedicated to their line of protective coatings and surface protection products. In addition to products that protect leather from water, oil, dirt and stains, there are also liquid and stain resistant stone and tile protectors; grease-proof protectors for paper, and additives for industrial fire fighting foam formulations that are unparalleled in their ability to knock down and secure an enflamed area quickly and safely.

In need of a new technical facility to support this growing business, the decision was made to locate the surface protection and protective coatings research facility at Mantes. The new Mantes Technical and Expertise Center (MTEC) employs around ten DuPont scientists and will provide technical support for products that include the DuPont Teflon Leather Protector which keeps stains from penetrating the leather, so liquids can be blotted up quickly and dust and dry soil can be easily wiped away. An invisible treatment, Teflon for leather, adheres to the leather surface whilst still enabling the hide to maintain all of its desired qualities such as smell, colour and handle, and it does not affect the suppleness, breathability or drape of the natural leather.

Leather applications

Zonyl 602 Leather Protector is a stable anionic fluoropolymer dispersion which can be applied in the drum or by spraying to all types of leather to impart water, oil and soil repellency. The leather remains breathable and luxurious. Zonyl 602 does not affect the smell, feel or aesthetics of the leather.

If spray finished the colour may be a shade darker than before the treatment and can frequently be brought back by mechanical processing or plating. The polymer active ingredient is cleared for manufacture in the US and sale in the US and Europe. It has a pH of 6-7 and an active ingredient of 29-31%.

Zonyl 602T Leather Protector is similar to Zonyl 602 but with a pH of 5-7 and active ingredient of 15-18%.

Foraperle 315 is an acrylic fluorinated emulsion used for the finishing of leather in drums and by spray. It is also suitable for the formulation of leather care products providing excellent oil and water repellency and resistance to water and oil-based stains.

To achieve optimum results, Foraperle 315 treatment should take place in the last stage of the wet process and can also be blended into the anionic fatliquor bath. For two-stage fatliquoring, 315 can also be used in two feeds along with the fatliquors. A final pH of 3.2-3.5 should be maintained at the end of the process.

For finishing applications, 315 can be applied either by spray or rollercoater along with the top coat. It can be used with a conventional top coat (nitrocellulose lacquer emulsion or pu dispersion) and gives an oil repellency value of 4-5 and 5-6 for water.

For suede and nubuck leathers, 351 will provide water and oil repellent properties without altering the aesthetic properties of the leather.

Foraperle 303D is an acrylic fluorinated emulsion used for drum finishing. It is also suitable for the formulation of leather care products. As 315, it offers excellent water and oil repellency and resistance to water and oil stains. Foraperle 303D does not affect the shade of the leather; the suppleness; the texture or the nap of suede when dried.

Treatment with Foraperle 303D has to be the last stage of the wet process in order to achieve the best performances. It is possible to carry out this treatment in a separate bath. If necessary 303 D can be added to the dyeing or retanning bath or even with the fatliquor, provided that the acidification after treatment (pH3-3.5 obtained with formic acid) fixes the Foraperle 303D.

Foraperle 225 is an acrylic fluorinated copolymer in a solvent medium used for finishing and protection of leathers for water and oil repellency and resistance and is used for finishing leathers by spraying and through aerosols. It is soluble in hydrocarbons and in hydrocarbon/alcohol mixtures and can also be diluted with ketones, esters and chlorinated solvents.