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Production industry chrome leathers

Production industry chrome leathers

The Scandinavian-designed, Italian-made shoes and bags of ATP Atelier are getting metal-free leather spotted on the arms of chic style-setters across the globe. They're not the only ones either. Kering, who owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and many other luxury brands, has introduced metal-free tanning in its directly-owned tanneries and it's the preferred material choice of British sustainability-focused label Beaumont Organic. Forbes explores the pros and cons of metal-free leather and what it means for a more sustainable leather industry. Metal-free leather has nothing to do with the zips and finishings on a product, but how the leather is produced. Chrome tanning was invented in and quickly became the most commonly used process, replacing vegetable tanning.


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Water Use in the Leather Industry

Though we may consider ourselves intellectually and technologically superior to our cave-dwelling ancestors, we still adorn our bodies, transports, and homes with the skin of conquered animals. But unlike the wholly organic methods used by our forebears, the modern leather industry is simultaneously killing the local environment and the people that work there with a toxic slurry of chemicals. Leather clothing, auto upholstery, home furnishings, and miscellaneous other uses rounded out the remaining outlets with between 8 and 14 percent shares.

As for processed leather exports, the Chinese and Indian industries are among the world leaders with 6. However, the dirt cheap labor rates and generally nonexistent workplace or environmental safety regulations prevalent throughout poorer nations in Southeast Asia have attracted a large amount of the work tanning leather and turning it into goods for Western markets. The type of leather produced in a given region depends largely on the dominant source available.

In the Americas, it's cattle skin supplemented by goat, lamb, deer, ostrich, buffalo, and even yak. More exotic leathers are also becoming more common. Kangaroo is often employed for bullwhips and motorcycle leathers, given its lightweight and abrasion-resistant nature.

Snake, alligator, and crocodile skins are all popular as well. Even stingray skin can be made into leather—and often is, in places like Thailand where stingrays are plentiful. The tanning process is essentially one designed to mummify a hide and stabilize the resulting material so that it will not rot or harden into an unusable form.

The process for doing so first involves preparing the hide—scraping it clean of meat, fat, and hair; and optionally applying debilitating lime pastes, bleaching, or pickling the skin as well.

You can tell the difference between a tanned hide and a rawhide based on their reactions to heat and water. Rawhide will harden in the heat and, when rewetted, putrefies. Tanned leather, on the other hand, remains flexible in heat and will not putrefy when wetted. There are a number of different tanning methods available, depending on what the final product's attributes and uses will be.

These methods include:. Once the tanning operation proper has been completed, the leather is allowed to dry. Then the "crusting" procedure begins. The leather may be thinned, retanned, and lubricated before being colored, softened, and shaped. Image: Apurva Madia. The tanning industry poses many dangers to both the environment and those that work within it.

The primary environmental threat involves the dumping of solid and liquid waste that contains leftover chromium and other hazardous compounds. This is commonplace in regions without strong environmental protection standards, which also happen to be the primary regions where leather is tanned, such as China, India, and Bangladesh.

Even in fully modernized and carefully managed facilities, it is nearly impossible to reclaim all of the pollutants generated by the tanning process.

Hell, 70 percent of an untreated hide is eventually discarded as solid waste—the hair, fat, meat, sinew, all goes straight into the trash. Sure, there are ways to mitigate these impacts. As the United Nations Industrial Development Organization's report Chrome Management in the Tanyard [ PDF ] points out, using industry-proven techniques such as direct recycling—which uses the same chromium bath for both the initial tanning and subsequent re-tanning stage—can reduce chromium levels in wastewater by 21 percent.

Additionally, by reclaiming chromium, either by rapidly precipitating it out of the acid bath using sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate or slowly pulling it out with magnesium oxide, one can recapture at least 25 to 30 percent of the bath's chrome content.

And, as a study performed in Indian tanneries suggests, a mix of 70 percent new chrome and 30 percent recaptured chrome produces nearly identical results as using percent new chrome. However, as the UNIDO study authors wrote, "even though the chrome pollution load can be decreased by 94 percent on introducing advanced technologies, the minimum residual load 0.

And what don't many developing nations have a lot of? Money for environmental protection, that's right. So in regions where such regulations are relaxed or easily bypassed with some well-placed bribes, tanneries are still throwing the chrome out with the bathwater.

Wastewater pollution is primarily a byproduct of the initial preparation or "beamhouse" stage, wherein bits of flesh, hair, mold, poop, and other animal byproducts are mixed into wash water and discarded.

Minute doses of chromium are needed by many plants and animals to regulate metabolic functions. However, in large doses, such as when chromium-laced waste is dumped into regional water systems, it can damage fish gills, incite respiratory problems, infections, infertility, and birth defects.

It can also instigate a number of serious cancers in animals throughout the food chain. Work within the tannery itself is fraught with dangers—often the result of inadequate or non-existent worker protections.

These includes slips and falls on improperly drained floors; exposure to lime, tanning liquor, acids, bases, solvents, disinfectants, and other noxious chemicals; injury from heavy machinery or flaying knives; drowning, being boiled alive, or buried in lime, are all terrifyingly real hazards. Still, the most dangerous part of modern tanning is handling chromium. In humans, chromium causes a myriad of ailments depending on how it is absorbed.

When inhaled, chromium acts as a lung irritant and carcinogen, affecting the upper respiratory tract, obstructing airways, and increasing the chances of developing lung, nasal, or sinus cancer.

Chromium normally is absorbed this way as fine particulate dust that is produced when both raw and tanned leathers are buffed, smoothed, and ground up. Chromium has been linked to increased rates of asthma, bronchitis, polyps of the upper respiratory tract, pharyngitis, and the enlargement of the hilar region and lymph nodes. Additionally, the raw hides are also a breeding ground for anthrax, which can easily make the leap to humans by mixing with aerosolized pollution, though this has been virtually eliminated in the Western tanning industry now that hides are disinfected before being shipped for processing.

It doesn't play well with your skin either. Once absorbed through unprotected handling, chromium can cause dry, cracked, and scaled skin; as well as erosive ulcerations that refuse to heal known "chrome holes.

Back in , nobody outside of the tanning industry had any inkling that the work they were doing might be making them sick. In fact, a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC found no link between the tanning process and nasal cancer in tannery workers. However, over the next few years additional case reports and studies began uncovering a link not just to nasal cancer but bladder and testicular cancer as well, which was associated with the dyes or solvents employed in the finishing process.

By the mid s, a number of other forms, including lung and pancreatic cancer—both of which are way down the list of cancers you might survive —were associated with leather dust and tanning. By the start of this century, researchers had uncovered another link between Hexavalent Chromium or Cr VI compounds and increased risk of respiratory cancer.

Germany, in fact, went ahead and actually banned the oxide's use in leather goods, capping contamination at just 3 ppm, back in And that's a good thing too because, as a number of studies since the s have suggested, Cr VI toxicity appears to be an additive process with more severe issues developing and worsening over years of exposure—the same as with lead exposure or cigarette smoking. The problem, as you may have gathered, isn't in the tightly-regulated tanneries in first world-countries—it's in the developing nations that perform the vast majority of the work.

Many regions are making efforts to clean up these polluting industries. However, progress is slow. This city once housed more than 10, tanneries which, in , were dumping more than 22 tons of effluence into the Ganges river every day.

The city took action in , sealing 49 of the highest-polluting tanneries in town—out of a list of heavy polluters. It was rated as one of the five most toxic, heavily-polluted sites on the entire planet last year by the Blacksmith Institute. As a recent Ecologist post illustrates , the people of this neighborhood are often as polluted as the waterways:. Venkatesh, 51, has worked in tanneries all his life, removing hairs from hides in lime pits.

His dark-brown arms and hands are dotted with white scars because of a chemical-caused skin disease. If I work more, the itching starts. It is unbearable. The doctor's ointment doesn't help much. But I need to work so my family can live,' Venkatesh says. Next to Nehru Road, the private clinic of Doctor G.

Asokan is busy. Tanning can also cause allergies, bronchitia and pneumonia. I estimate 40 per cent of tannery workers have health problems because they are in direct contact with the chemicals,' he says. We hear similar statements from other local doctors.

So how widespread are such health problems in the Indian tanning industry? It is not easy to find statistics. Leather tanning is big business, powerful tanneries have much influence and sensitive research into health problems can cause problems for the industry.

A professor explains he had to cancel a research project into chrome as a cause of illness among tannery workers because of pressure from the industry. Another professor studying the impact of chrome on people and the environment cancels a meeting with us after speaking to the tanneries.

A problem that I still see is connected with health and safety in working conditions. Here the Indian and the Tamil Nadu Government prescribes that long boots and gloves, aprons and masks must be used by workers. Unfortunately, short of binding UN arbitration or a massive, international boycott against chromium-tanned leather, there doesn't look to be much impetus for these practices to cease.

As long as the first world continues to export these sorts of dangerous jobs to impoverished and easily-exploited developing nations, our desire for affordable plush leather will carry a steep price—paid in human suffering. Top Image: Philip Lange. The A. Andrew Tarantola. Filed to: Giz Explains. Share This Story. Get our newsletter Subscribe.

Tanning Agents – Leather, as good as it gets

Dr Tegtmeyer is vice-president for product development and application at the leather business unit of chemical manufacturer Lanxess. Before that, he worked for Bayer, the company from which Lanxess was spun off in MYTH: The chromium salts used in leather production are toxic. FACT: Chrome is safe; only a small proportion of chrome in use in manufacturing industries around the world makes its way into leather production. The metal is in high demand for steel production and in chrome-plating.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to visit this site without changing your settings, you are accepting our use of cookies. The industry is exposed to the following threats and opportunities:.

An in-house laboratory experimenting with bold new directions in tanning and finishing. These are the next generation of cutting-edge leathers in development that reach beyond the limits of our catalogue. With nature defining colour, the leather ages naturally when exposed to the sun and precipitation. International Leather-Based Creative Festival.

Nothing to Hide

The use of animal skins dates back to the Stone Age, presumably as tarpaulins , protective clothing or for the manufacture of belts , harnesses , bags and containers. Animal skins were dried , fats were incorporated into the leather to make them softer and waterproof and they were possibly smoked to preserve the result. But this type of preservation was not real tanning. Tanning by ancient methods was indeed extremely foul- smelling and hence most tanneries were situated in the outskirts of towns. The use of urine and animal faeces, combined with the smell of decaying flesh due to the absence of conservation options was what made ancient tanneries so odoriferous and the profession of tanner unpopular. Proper tanning is the most important step in leather production. It is just one part in the entire process of manufacturing leather.

What Is Chrome Leather?

If you want to be successful in the global market today, you need an experienced partner at your side. LANXESS has been active in the leather industry worldwide for many years and offers state-of-the-art technologies and top-quality chemicals for all stages of the leather manufacturing process. Modern tanning processes and finishing technologies are necessary to meet the tough demands made on high-quality leather goods and their manufacture. This comprehensive management approach promotes the development of sustainable leather production concepts and embraces the entire life cycle from the manufacturing process to recycling. We are at home all over the world.

In this article we will learn about the source and special properties of chrome tanned leather, how it is made, what kind of products it is used in, and how to care for this type of leather.

Description of the tanning-process 3. Emissions 3. Prevention of waste production 3.

What Is Metal-Free Leather And Why Are Brands Promoting It As Sustainable?

All tanners are facing the same problems of minimizing the environmental and health impact of their processes when selling into the global market. Regulatory pressures oblige tanners to make continuous improvements in the processing operations. The regulatory authorities and consumers are looking more closely at whether hazardous substances, such as certain preservatives, some azo-dyes, and chromium VI are present in leather and leather products. Closer monitoring of this aspect has revealed that leather and leather products sometimes contain some hazardous substances like chromium VI although only chromium compounds in the form of chromium III were used in the tanning process.


Chrome tanning uses a solution of chemicals, acids, and salts including chromium sulfate to tan the hide. In , about 24 million tons of chromium was produced. Worldwide approximately , tons of chromium tannins are produced per year. The increasing requirements of producing safer chrome leathers in a sustainable way have led Silvateam to develop an innovative hybrid tannage using a combination of chrome salts and Blancotan CAT that allows the customer to produce a new environmental friendly wet blue. Skip to main content.

Wet white tanning

Some text was revised from the article authored by V. Gupta in the 3rd edition of this Encyclopaedia. Tanning is the chemical process that converts animal hides and skins into leather. The term hide is used for the skin of large animals e. Hides and skins are mostly by-products of slaughterhouses, although they may also come from animals that have died naturally or been hunted or trapped.

VIVIANI has been producing leather since and in a new plant Apart from that, VIVIANI uses only the raw leather that is a by-product of meat industry and . The production of Chrome free hydro leather requires less water, less.

With the construction of this new system our production has specialized in manufacturing of waterproof and breathable leather of premium quality for military, police and firemen footwear, boots for mountain climbing, hiking and hunt, motorsport and golf shoes as well as orthopaedic, medicine and children's footwear. Each day the factory refines 18 tons of raw leather and produces sq m of finished leather. The high quality leather of the Simmental type that is used in the production is obtained from the suppliers in Croatia and in the EU and VIVIANI distributes the finished products to the European and Western markets and, in smaller part, to the domestic market in the Republic of Croatia. That what distinguishes us from the competition is the production of smaller batches of the leather of premium quality and specific colouring that satisfy the high chemical, physical, health and other requirements and our consumer oriented policy whose requests we strive to fulfil promptly and respecting the highest quality standards.

Leather goods are prized for their beauty and durability, but tanning leather uses and pollutes large amounts of water. With care, leather goods tend to be tougher a1nd more durable than nylon, canvas, or various imitation leather products, but their desirability transcends function and enters the world of beauty and style. But durability and beauty come at an environmental price.

Though we may consider ourselves intellectually and technologically superior to our cave-dwelling ancestors, we still adorn our bodies, transports, and homes with the skin of conquered animals. But unlike the wholly organic methods used by our forebears, the modern leather industry is simultaneously killing the local environment and the people that work there with a toxic slurry of chemicals. Leather clothing, auto upholstery, home furnishings, and miscellaneous other uses rounded out the remaining outlets with between 8 and 14 percent shares.

The leather manufacturing process is divided into three sub-processes: preparatory stages, tanning and crusting.

Until the 19th century, there was little development in the tanning process. While there was some use of alum aluminium salts and other tanning methods , vegetable tanning was the most prevalent. However, it was an American chemist called Augustus Schultz who first patented the chrome tanning process. In the following decades, chrome tanning became the most common and dominant form of tanning. One of the main reasons why it was adopted so rapidly is that the process was much faster than vegetable tanning.

С шифровалкой все в полном порядке - как. Бринкерхофф хотел было уже взять следующий документ, но что-то задержало его внимание. В самом низу страницы отсутствовала последняя СЦР. В ней оказалось такое количество знаков, что ее пришлось перенести в следующую колонку.

Увидев эту цифру, Бринкерхофф испытал настоящий шок.

Выходит, выбор оружия был идеальным. Сьюзан смотрела, как Танкадо повалился на бок и, наконец, на спину. Он лежал, устремив глаза к небу и продолжая прижимать руку к груди. Внезапно камера отъехала в сторону, под деревья.

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  1. Moogujind

    In it something is. Many thanks for the help in this question, now I will not commit such error.