The 2017 edition of the Freiberg Leather Days (June 21-22) is underway in the southern Dutch city of Oisterwijk, marking the first time that the event has been held outside of Germany.


It was officially opened by Martin Heise, chairman of the German Leather Technicians and Chemists Association (VGCT), and Dr Haiko Schulz, managing director of Forschungsinstitut für Leder und Kunststoffbahnen (FILK). These two organisations are co-organisers of the event.


More than 200 delegates from more than 20 countries are participating this year. Mr Heise said the only two continents not represented at the event are Asia and Antartica. He emphasised the need for even more research and development in the leather industry, explaining that there are “still lots of interesting things to discover”.


The event’s technical programme was kicked off by Martin Kleben, who leads the management team of the business unit of leather chemicals manufacturer Lanxess. He gave an overview of the sustainability programmes currently in place in the leather industry. In his talk, he pointed to the increasing demand from the general public for transparency in the leather supply chain and called for more to be done to emphasise the positive actions being taken by the industry to address sustainability challenges.


He was followed onto the stage by Juan-Carlos Castell, global marketing manager for Stahl’s beamhouse, who presented the benefits of using probiotic chemical substances in the leather making process.

The morning session also included a talk from Dr Sara Cuadros of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) about the use of formaldehydes in leather, and a presentation from Sujay Prabakar of the New Zealand Leather Research Association about how small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) can be used to better understand tanning mechanisms.


The afternoon session began with an interesting talk from the general manager of fleshing and shaving blades maker Heusch, Hanns-Peter Spaniol, who gave details about the company’s new “wave tooth” shaving blades, with which it is hoping to launch next year. It has already carried out extensive trials of the blades with its customers and is searching for more partners to further develop the project.

Marc Oomens, owner of Dutch supplier of tanning machinery, equipment, machine parts, service and maintenance IM, and Dr Beate Haaser of Bavaria-based tanner Südleder, then combined to present a new overhead conveying drying system that they have developed together. The technology, which was devised by IM, has been in use at Südleder’s facility for nearly a year.

A fantastic programme was concluded by Ramon Weren, sales director of French adhesive specialists Protechnic. He explained the advantages of using pre-structured adhesives in leather lamination, one of the products offered by his company.

Pictured; the New Zealand contingent with LASRA staffers, Geoff Holmes and Sujay Prabakar, 4th and 6th from left