The Lanxess Group Leather Business Unit have expanded their applications development department in São Leopoldo, near Porto Alegre, in Brazil with a view to being able to offer better support and a wider range of services to their customers in the important and rapidly growing South American market.

Brazil’s tanning and shoe industries are concentrated in the south of the country. It, therefore, seemed logical to develop the existing Lanxess logistics centre in São Leopoldo into a customer support centre. At the end of 2004, a complete technical laboratory with state-of-the-art machinery and apparatus was set up to meet the requirements of the company’s South American customers. The new facilities also include a laboratory for carrying out standard quality control tests and for testing the effectiveness of microbiological preservatives on leather.

The Leather Business Unit’s technical centre for the entire South America region is located in São Leopoldo. The staff there are not only responsible for organising the technical service to this region, but also engage in continuous dialogue with Lanxess leather service centres in other regions throughout the world to discuss technical findings and new technologies.

The introduction of new processes and products is also coordinated from this centre. Another extremely important task is maintaining close contact with Argentina, where the company produces most of their range of leather chemicals for Latin America. Also in Argentina is a development laboratory which supports the research centre at company headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, in developing products that meet the demands of the market.