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Bayer Strengthens Capabilities in Coated Textiles Area

15 April 2014

Bayer MaterialScience has inaugurated its state-of-the-art textile coating pilot line in Shanghai, China, installed new lab facilities, among them a lab coater, at its headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, which, along with the dedicated lab space in Pittsburgh, US, will allow Bayer to further strengthen its capabilities in the coated textile sector.

According to Bayer, the portfolio ranges from product synthesis and formulation to the development of next-generation coated textile materials. It will also open up further co-development activities with partners along the value chain to deliver innovative materials powered by waterborne polyurethane (PU) technology.

Bayer expects the global demand for environmentally friendly synthetic leather and coated textiles to grow strongly. It says the increase will be felt most prominently in China, home to 90 percent of the world’s production of these materials. By moving the global product development and the lead for application development for textile-related products to China, Bayer is supporting this change. The Shanghai, Leverkusen and Pittsburgh facilities complete Bayer’s support, allowing fast response to customers. 

Further, by adopting a global setup Bayer is able to address customers with different operations in various locations around the globe. These new installations represent the next step in Bayer’s plan to offer the best possible service to address the need for new materials.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at the Polymer Research & Development Centre in Shanghai, Nicholas Smith, Global Head of Textile Coating at Bayer said "The textile industry has always had a thirst for new materials. But today an even more dramatic change is happening: Many apparel and footwear brands as well as consumers have embarked upon a huge sustainability agenda to address the social and environmental impacts of the industry. Governments and regulators in textile material producing countries such as China are also calling for improvements."

The newly-inaugurated textile coating line has a multifunctional coating head, two lamination stations, a twelve meter length drying oven, as well as a foulard. It is equipped with a digital control system and is suited for various application and processing methods in one line, such as direct and transfer coating with optional wet or dry lamination. 

The plant is equipped with an embossing calendar, which enables embossing of a coated substrate. Line parameter settings are then directly transferable to industrial production, which means that manufacturers can significantly reduce the time expenditure for elaborate production trials.

"The new textile coating pilot line will help us to demonstrate a comprehensive range of possibilities for the PU coating of textile materials," said Rolf Irnich, Global Head of Textile Coating Application & Technology Development. "We can achieve a versatile look and feel, and a range of functionalities. We want to inspire the whole industry with what our waterborne PU textile coatings can do, and help manufacturers of PU leather and other coated textiles to develop respective capacities."