Stahl has launched a range of solutions which enable tanners to produce lightweight automotive leathers.

The new Stahlite range is designed for use in the re-tanning and fatliquoring stages of the wet-end leather production process and replaces conventional re-tanning and softening agents with speciality polymers.

The supplier maintains these polymers penetrate more thoroughly into the leather fibre structure to coat the fibre bundles and fibrils with a smooth layer.

The result is a lightweight automotive leather that, Stahl says, compared with traditional leather, delivers weight savings of 7kg to 8kg – or up to 30% in a luxury car with a full leather interior.

Lightweight automotive leather also reduces CO2 emissions by 0.4 g/km to 0.5 g/km compared with a conventional leather interior.

Leather made with Stahlite maintains grain tightness, plus the stability and tear strength are the same as standard leather. Leather made with Stahlite also withstands the effects of heat and oxidation better than a traditionally re-tanned and fatliquored leather, says Stahl, while being low-odour and low-VOC

With the Stahlite range, tanners can shorten their re-tanning time by up to 40% compared with the traditional process. Exact gains depend on the raw material and the final article to be produced.

Along with fewer chemicals, it requires less water and energy to produce leather made with Stahlite and creates less wastewater. In concrete terms, the Stahlite range can reduce COD (chemical oxygen demand) by up to 40%-50% and reduce BOD5 (biological oxygen demand) by 60%-70% in like-for-like comparisons.

The Stahlite range is part of Stahl’s Stahl Neo portfolio of leather chemicals and complies with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL).