A LASRA innovative research project in collaboration with AgResearch will receive investment funding totalling $1 million over three years through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2023 Endeavour Fund.

Transforming fault detection in the leather industry through deep-learning-based hyperspectral imaging

This project proposal aims to revolutionise fault detection on hides and skins, addressing a pressing issue faced by the New Zealand industry. Current practices result in significant revenue losses of up to $35 million annually due to intrinsic faults and defects in processed hides and skins which cause their downgrading and can only be identified at later stages, leading to increased costs, quality inconsistencies, and additional environmental burdens.

Our project’s primary goal is to develop an early-stage fault detection system that can promptly identify faults and defects harnessing our expertise in deep-learning techniques and leather processing, in support of 2 critical advancements:

By analysing their unique spectral signatures in real-time we seek to significantly reduce costs and improve processing efficiency. This classification will enable the production of high-quality leather or valuable proteins for nutraceutical and biomaterial applications. These breakthroughs will provide competitive advantages in both domestic and global markets.

This ground-breaking approach challenges existing limitations, aiming to detect and analyse faults and adverse chemical characteristics in hides and skins prior to processing.

Our project not only addresses economic losses but also emphasises sustainable processing practices. By minimising chemical consumption during early stages and reducing replacements and disposal, we will enhance the industry’s environmental footprint. Our commitment to sustainability drives commercial advantages while preserving natural resources.

Through this transformative project, LASRA envisions a NZ hide and skin processing industry that achieves unparalleled efficiency, consistent quality, and global competitiveness. We will collaborate with industry stakeholders, researchers, and technology providers to maximise the project’s impact and benefits to shape the future of the hide and skin processing industry; fostering innovation, environmental stewardship and economic growth.

Left to Right: Sujay Prabakar (LASRA), John Liu(LASRA), Yash Dixit (AgResearch), Geoff Holmes (LASRA)