Agfa and TFL partner to develop inkjet printing on leather

Alussa will enable high quality leather decoration in such a way that it exhibits the excellent performance required by the industry in terms of flexibility and scratch resistance.

Agfa and TFL (a global company producing specialty chemicals for the leather and related industries) have entered into a strategic partnership focusing on the development of Alussa – a dedicated inkjet-printing solution to decorate high-quality genuine leathers used in the fashion, upholstery, automotive, aviation and nautical industries. Alussa is “the sum of a number of perfectly matched components,” said the companies. Agfa will develop the inkjet printer, dedicated inkjet inks and the software to manage and monitor the printing process. TFL will provide the custom-developed coating chemistry. Alussa will enable the leather industry to decorate high-quality leather in such a way that it exhibits the excellent performance required in terms of flexibility and scratch resistance. It’s the first industrial inkjet printing solution outputting decorated leather that can handle up to 100,000 flexes. Productivity up to an impressive 80 m² per hour can be achieved. Alussa can print both white and full-colour designs with photographic quality on diverse types of leather. As this is a digital printing solution, it’s also ideal for customizing and personalizing leather products, thus catering to a growing global trend. Also, the technology easily allows for the creation of one-offs (e.g. individual samples) as it does for large volumes.

Tom Cloots.

“Printing images on leather using inkjet technology, and obtaining top performance in terms of flexibility and scratch resistance, is a complex challenge,” said Tom Cloots, Director Industrial Inkjet at Agfa. “The Alussa leather printing solution incorporates both Agfa’s vast expertise in the field of inkjet technology, graphic workflow and colour management, and TFL’s in-depth knowledge of coating chemistry and coating application techniques. It combines the best of two worlds to provide a perfect synergy between leather and ink.” Markus Hess, Global Head of Product Marketing at TFL, added: “Fashion trends are changing fast and it seems like the speed of modification and the desire for individualization is increasing year by year. This is a big challenge and opportunity for the leather industry. We’re very excited about the partnership between Agfa and TFL. Together we can create countless, customized fashion effects, combined with high flexing and wearing properties, to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s fashion industry.”

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.