These microcapsules have a diameter of 5-20 µ and are small enough to penetrate the collagen structure during the retanning process. They are filled with liquid gas and can expand up to 40 times their original size using a steam-based treatment in a machine specially built by the Italian machine manufacturers Fratelli Carlessi SpA according to LANXESS specifications.
They then form larger and more resistant micro-cells. During the process, the polymer penetrates the leather, taking the microcapsules with it. Once the retanning process is complete, the leather is submitted to a special saturated steam-based treatment expanding the microcapsules inside the leather.
To fill the increasing demand for leather with a low specific weight, LANXESS have developed the softening polymer Levotan L, which besides providing low specific weight also results in excellent softness and uniform grain pattern after milling and a unique, pleasant touch. It is also recommended for application in automotive leather production.
Finally, LANXESS will present their latest high-performance fatliquor  development for very soft articles – Baykanol Licker LSM.
For the finishing sector, Aquaderm X-Shield, a water-based polymer dispersion that is applied as a top coat on the leather will be highlighted. Unlike conventional systems, whose soil-repellent substances gradually wear off, the binder system, developed by LANXESS and the Japanese chemical company Daikin Industries Ltd, Osaka, with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) segments incorporated by polymerisation is firmly anchored on the surface of the leather. Aquaderm X-Shield protects leather surfaces not only from ‘standard soil’ but also from stains caused, for example, by mustard, ketchup, marker pen inks or engine oil. It also makes cleaning with leather-care products considerably simpler.
Also a complete portfolio of water-based top coats for all types of articles will be presented, with special attention on the silica-free top coat Aquaderm Mateante 100 which is polyurethane based. In combination with the new Aquaderm XL DI – an isocyanate-based cross-linking agent for direct injection – the highest standards in terms of look and physical resistance are achieved.
In step with fashion trends pointing towards patent leathers, a complete collection of articles has been developed with the new Baygen Finish P – a very shiny water-based polyurethane top coat. It is an easy product to handle and apply, and gives leathers a differentiated look, mainly for shoes and bags.
The new Trend Book Spring-Summer 2009 will also be introduced at the fair,keeping visitors to the LANXESS stand up to date on the future of leather fashions. ‘Helping our customers with regard to the latest trends in fashion is also one of LANXESS activities. At the Italian Innovation Competence Center based in Santa Croce, Italy, we have a team of technicians and designers that translate new colours and trends for the next season into leather’, says Evandro Kich, regional technical manager of the Leather business unit for South America in the Leather business unit.
LANXESS are a leader in speciality chemicals with sales in 2007 of E6.61 billion and currently around 15,200 employees in 21 countries. The company are represented at 44 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacture and sale of plastics, rubber, intermediates and speciality chemicals.