BASF Performance Chemicals for leather have introduced the first in a new series of new auxiliary products for use in leather upgrading. As customers all know, there are often imperfections on the surface of rawhides. In order to produce the flawless quality leather required by the consumer, these imperfections must be filled and covered, which can require considerable effort and, of course, extra expense.

Various fillers and ‘foam-finishes’ (where a micro-foam is generated to produce an air-filled covering layer on the leather) are often applied. The main disadvantage of these technologies is that often, even when good filling and covering of the leather imperfection is achieved, a lot of work and effort has to be invested to achieve this, and a compromise must be often made regarding the feel and look of the finished leather.

BASF have developed Lepton Enhancer CP with their customers in mind, and they are convinced that this product fulfils all the technical advantages for foam finishes but with much enhanced usability and a more enhanced natural leather look and feel.

Lepton Enhancer CP achieves this because it contains hollow microcapsules, which act like a preformed foam, ie the product already contains a stable foam-like material, which can be directly applied (rollcoated or sprayed) onto the leather without the need for expensive foam generators.

The microcapsules used are very flexible and are very resistant to physical exertion. They are relatively equal in size (more consistent and smaller in comparison to foams) and are extremely light (approximately one third the weight of water for the same volume). Unlike micro-foams they are stable in the presence of defoaming agents and flow-out modifiers.

The basecoat produced is very dull (which can be an advantage particularly for automotive leathers). Waste, and therefore expense, can also be minimised because residual mixtures of Lepton Enhancer CP (without crosslinker) can be reused and are therefore not ‘cross-linker’ pot-life restricted. The stability and small size of the microcapsules enables very good print retention and a high degree of covering power, which is extremely efficient.

To summarise: In addition to providing excellent conventionally covered finishes with excellent properties, Lepton Enhancer CP produces comparable results to foam-finishes with good embossing properties (achieved through the consistent particle size of stable ‘micro-foam-like’ material) and high covering power (like foam-finishing).

However, this product also achieves: an enhanced natural look; enhanced feel; enhanced reliability (achieved through a stable and consistent ‘micro-foam-like’ material); enhanced versatility (not restricted to cross-linker pot-life); enhanced economy (less waste and without using expensive equipment) and, last but certainly not least, much enhanced ease of use (reverse rollcoating or spraying).