Germany-based BASF AG has commenced production of Steron®, a new coating, at a new pilot facility
in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The company will use the facility to further develop Steron technology
and work with customers to customize the technology to their individual needs and applications.
Developed by Philipp Schaefer, Steron imparts a high-quality surface finish to an array of
materials such as woven fabrics, fleece fabrics, leather, wood and plastics. The coating is
suitable for automobile interior upholstery because it can impart an optically uniform design.
The coating is applied via an aqueous formulation of pigmented polyurethanes that is sprayed
on a silicon matrix. The majority of the water evaporates, leaving a thin membrane with micro-fine
pores, imparting breathability to the material. The membrane is then adhered to the material and
the finished product lifted from the matrix. Different patterns set by the matrix enable the coated
material to look like a variety of surfaces — from smooth, embossed leather to velvet. Matrixes can
be changed out within minutes, making small production runs of coated materials cost-effective.
“We are pleased to be able to include Steron in BASF’s service portfolio,” said Dr. Jürgen
Weiser, project manager, new technologies, BASF Performance Chemicals. “With BASF’s research and
development expertise and infrastructure, and its partnership with Philipp Schaefer, we can unfold
the full innovative potential of this very promising new technology.”
September 5, 2007