The general objectives of Silic Salt were to develop and (partly) implement new curing methods for freshly flayed hides and skins, whereat the common curing salt (i.e. NaCl) will be replaced by alkali silicates. Remarkably less silicates will be required for curing and a significant reduction of salt content in treated tannery effluents will be achieved. This reduction will make such effluents re-utilisable for agricultural purposes. The innovative techniques will only be in the chemical process and will not require investment on new tannery equipment. Therefore, all tanneries in developing countries will be able to implement these procedures, especially since all auxiliaries are not expensive. In addition, the results from a CRAFT – project have indicated a better exhaustion of later applied tannery auxiliaries. This lead to less contaminated tannery effluents and reduced sludge volumes from effluent treatment.
At the end of all beamhouse–processes, untanned, silicate-stabilised pelts will be obtained. Since these pelts seem to be storable over longer periods, they can be seen as new starting material for European tanneries. Interesting in this respect is that, so far, only pre-tanned starting materials (mainly chrome-tanned wet blues) were exported. With silicate-stabilised pelts, any required tannage (with chrome, synthetic and/ or vegetable tannins) can then be carried out.
The project partners were COTANCE and GERIC members VAL/Austria, and LGR/Germany, as well as CLRI (Central Leather Research Institute, India), BLRI (Bangladeshi Leather Research Institute), BLCT (Bangladesh College for Leather Technology), Lederfabrik Vogl GmbH, Dr. Boehme KG as well as Mr. R. Daniels as an independent expert. An Observer Group includes ERRC (Eastern Regional Research Centre USA), CSIR-Australia, the Tokyo Metropolitan Leather Institute and the University of Chengdu-China.
The project started in 2002 and was completed in 2005.
Developed under the CRAFT programme, the Wasserglass project aims at the optimization and transfer of the procedure promoting Wasserglass (soluble alkali silicates) for the shaving and liming processes. It started in December 2001 and ended in December 2003. Coordinated by COTANCE, it was developed by the following partners: VOGL, VAL, LGR, SSIP.
In conjunction with the ESTW, COTANCE developed Tanweek to highlight how European tanners use science and technology innovations in practical applications that significantly enhance the lives of both tannery employees and the general public. The main event of Tanweek was an open conference in Bologna, in the framework of Lineapelle, the world’s largest leather fair. The conference was also a showcase for the information materials produced during the year:
A 12-page colour brochure explains the impact of science on the tanning industry, and shows how the latest R&D breakthroughs contribute to a cleaner environment. The brochure is available in English, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Swedish.
A video illustrates how science has improved the production of leather in Europe, highlighting the environmental benefits and how they positively affect the public.
Better Articulation of the Social Sectoral Dialogue at EU/National level
Early 2003, the Social Partners of the Leather industry at European level submitted a project proposal on the topic of “articulation” of the social dialogue in the sector and exploring how it can be improved. The proposal was approved for funding under the EU B3-4000 budget line.
Experts from both sides of the industry were identified by the Social Partners for participating in an exercise that would
- map the present situation of the social dialogue at various levels through individual or joint national reports based on a common template;
- examine a report gathering all the information obtained from the industry (both sides) and from other sources (comparisons with other dialogues, inter-professional dialogue);
- discuss in a specific workshop the conclusions to be drawn from this report and articulate recommendations for follow-up to be submitted to the Committee of the Social Sectoral Dialogue Tanning/Leather.
TANNET - A Concerted Action for the European Leather Industry (1998-2001)
What is TANNET
TANNET stands for Tanning and Network, an initiative lauched in April 1998 aiming at pooling scientific and technical expertise for the benefit of the European leather industry and supporting thus its economic development and its environmental sustainability.
TANNET II, a continuation project by the same partnership, started in September 2000.
The objectives of the concerted action were:
· To set up a Network of public and private actors concerned with the economic and environmental performance of the leather industry at European scale where sectoral operators can find expert advice, guidance and responses to technological issues.
· To elaborate a strategy for environmental research and technological development based on the tanning industry´s needs
The European leather industry consists of approximately 3000 tanneries employing directly some 50,000 people. It embraces primarily small and medium-sized tanneries all over Europe although a majority of them are located in the South of Europe.
The network brought together tanners, their representatives, their suppliers and leather manufacturers as well as academia and public authorities. Throughout the duration of the project, the research needs of industry were identified so as to build up a full fledged R&D strategy which allowed operators to remain at the forefront of innovation, quality and environmental performance. In this context, 3 work-shops were held in Italy (Bologna; Lineapelle), Spain (Igualada) and the UK (Northampton) and concentrated on specific sectoral items.
Under the leadership of the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) and COTANCE, the partnership included the leather research centres of UK (BLC), France (CTC), Spain (AIICA), Greece (ELKEDE), Germany (LGR), Portugal (CTIC) and Italy (SSIP) also represented by the Italian leather association (UNIC). These bodies acted as decentralised national focal points nurturing an ambitious network which maintained an ongoing dialogue with private and public actors with a direct interest in the leather sector.
Note: Some references (names, mails, etc) in these Newsletters are outdated. Please check with COTANCE or partners (see GERIC Members) for corrected data.