LANXESS makes the soccer world more colorful

  • LANXESS supplies color pigments for the spectacular outer shell of the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg
  • High-performance LANXESS plastics ensure safe, durable stadium seats
  • LANXESS leather chemicals make soccer boots resistant to the elements

Johannesburg/Leverkusen -

On June 11, when the world watches the opening ceremony of the Soccer World Cup at the ultra-modern Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, it will also have its eyes on LANXESS. The colored components in the striking stadium facade of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete panels are based on iron oxide pigments from LANXESS, a global specialty chemicals company based in Leverkusen, Germany. These high-quality pigments are marketed under the brand name Bayferrox.

The iron oxides, which LANXESS manufactures in the world's largest production plant for color pigments at its site in Krefeld-Uerdingen, have outstanding light and weather resistance and high color strength. The natural-looking colors of the 33,600 colored glass-fiber-reinforced panels on the 43,000-square-meter outer shell reproduce the colors of African calabashes. Some 22,000 kilograms of LANXESS pigments were needed to produce the 55,000 kilograms of liquid color for the spectacular facade. The colors were supplied by one of LANXESS' sales partners, Harold Scholz & Co. GmbH. The 205-million-Euro reconstruction forming the new emotional focus of the World Cup – where both the opening match and the final will be held – symbolizes Africa past and future.

For the cladding of Africa's largest stadium, which will seat nearly 95,000 spectators, the architects were inspired by the shape and color of the traditional African drinking pot, the "calabash". Because of its structure and the fact that the concrete shell is designed in typically African color shades, the stadium is also called the "African Pot". 

LANXESS gives spectators a secure feeling

LANXESS also played a major part in the production of the seats the spectators will sit on in the Soccer City Stadium. Durethan, an exceptionally versatile, high-performance plastic from LANXESS, has been used to manufacture the seat supports in place of the metal normally preferred in sports stadia of this kind. The premium plastic used to make the supports can withstand loads of up to 600 kg even at the edges, and will ensure absolute safety for the fans. 

The key benefits of Durethan are its strength and durability under static and dynamic loads, its excellent UV and weather stability, and its resistance to corrosion. In addition, the supports and the seats themselves are shaped by the injection molding process so as to avoid any sharp edges that could injure the spectators. Parts that could trap the hands or feet have been avoided. 

Soccer boots as tough as elephant skin 

For the soccer players' second most important tool after the ball – their boots – LANXESS leather chemicals play a major role, even if they are not directly visible. Many soccer boots from well-known manufacturers are made from high-quality leather uppers, which are "finished" with special coatings after tanning. This production step – known in the trade as "finishing" or "dressing" – not only produces shine, color and a pleasant touch. 

In the case of soccer boots, it has another very important effect: Despite constant contact with the ball, grass, bare earth and water, the leather is virtually indestructible. Applied in thin layers only fractions of a millimeter thick, the synthetic polyacrylate and polyurethane polymers from LANXESS (Aquaderm, Bayderm, Euderm, etc.) make the leather as tough as elephant skin. LANXESS products have been used at the World Cup not only to build the stadium. In fact, LANXESS is able to supply all the products needed in leather manufacturing – including inorganic and synthetic tanning materials, preservatives and fatliquoring agents, dyestuffs and pigments, as well as tanning and finishing auxiliaries. 

The Inorganic Pigments business unit, which produces color pigments for the construction and plastics industries as well as for surface coatings, and the Leather business unit, one of the leading suppliers of system solutions for the leather industry, both belong to the LANXESS Performance Chemicals segment, which posted sales of EUR 1.53 billion in 2009. The Semi-Crystalline Products business unit, which produces engineering plastics mainly for the automotive and E&E industries but also for the construction, medical technology and sports and leisure sectors, is part of the LANXESS Performance Polymers segment, which posted sales of EUR 2.38 billion in 2009.

#LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,300 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 42 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.