The one signature product that has made Gemata worldwide leaders in the finishing market is their range of rollercoating machines.

The system allows the tanner to deposit any kind of chemical product onto the leather, steadily and evenly, with minimal waste into the environment.

Since acquiring the FBP brand name in 2001, Gemata have also been producing machines and plants for automation in the tannery: conveyor belts, sorting machines and stacking machines to pile the leather after any kind of finishing process.

The rollercoating machines remain Gemata’s core business. But the company have recently started producing high efficiency drying tunnels to rapidly dry finishing chemicals. This machine is manufactured as part of a finishing system in-line with the rollercoating machine and a rotary spraying machine with LVLP (low-volume low-pressure) spray guns (see Leather International December 2003, page 31).

These highly efficient guns spray the chemical product on low-grade leather where the uneven surface prevents the finish being applied by roller. The spray booth was launched at the Tanning Tech exhibition held in Bologna last October.

All kinds of leather, whether for shoe uppers, clothing, leathergoods, furniture or automotive upholstery have to be finished. Gemata believe the great advantage of finishing leather with one of their machines, compared with traditional spray finishing, is the huge saving in chemical products. The company say that the benefits of the Gemata system are two fold: on one hand there are economical savings due to the reduced amount of chemicals used, on the other hand the system ensures the working process has a low environmental impact.

Spray finishing

Spraystar 3400 is Gemata’s full hide spray finishing cabin and can be used in-line with a drying tunnel and a cooling cell. The Spraystar 3400 cabin has been designed for finishing whole hides for the upholstery leather sector and is built using stainless steel and aluminium.

Spraystar’s unusual octagonal shape optimises the internal air exhaust flow preventing fume stagnation in corners. It is equipped with three aluminium double doors for easier access. Internal sliding panels separate and reduce airborne fumes and contamination.

Spraystar is also fitted with a dust collector tank that can be completely removed for rapid and efficient cleaning. Airborne contamination and cleaning is controlled using a water mist air cleaner. It is equipped with stainless steel filters and a sedimentation tank that are easily accessible for rapid removal and maintenance.

The 8-way finish distribution shaft is extremely lightweight and compact. The shaft is equipped with special slippery seals on ceramic surfaces to reduce wear and make sure that the cabin remains perfectly sealed over long periods.

The exhaust capacity is 25,000m3/hour and the emission of solid particles is less than 3.5 mg per m3 of expelled fumes.

The steel spray gun brackets have an anti-adherence coating with a hollow oval section for passing the air and pigment through the hoses internally.

This reduces a vortex effect within the carrousel and shortens the required cleaning time.

The Spraystar cabin has been designed to apply all types of pigment and spray finishes at both low and high pressures.

It includes a system for loading and unloading the chemical recipe and automatic low pressure washing of the finish at the end of a finishing run.

All pneumatic, electronic and carrousel controls are located on a single central panel controlled by a single operator. In particular, it is possible to control carrousel speed and set-up a stepwise sequence for the spray guns.

Spraystar is fitted with a detector that scans the surface of the leather. It is equipped with 110 photodiodes in-line to scan the leather with a precision that is greater than one tenth of a square foot.

The control panel also provides production statistics for the number of finished pieces, the total surface size in square feet and, in addition, the leather and the spray gun action can also be displayed. An optional automatic weighting system can also be installed to control chemical product consumption.

Rollercoater finishing

Starcoat is one of a number of rollercoater models made by Gemata. It is able to operate in both synchro and reverse modes, which make it ideal for finishing softer skins such as garment nappa.

Starcoat is available with working widths of 1300, 1800, 2200 and 2400mm for impregnation, pigment coating, cold and hot application of oils and waxes, application of foamed chemicals on splits, corrected and full grain for any kind of leather, regenerated or synthetic materials.

Starcoat has no mechanical vibrations, which used to generate coating flaws when finishing fine leather. There is also a complete elimination of the printing marks left on the leather when using traditional engraving rollers.

Starcoat allows the tanner reduced downtime for maintenance and easy use of the machine even by inexperienced operators.

The conveyor belt, though keeping a horizontal position, has a geometry that varies manually according to the type of leather being processed: up to four reverse and one synchro positions can be selected. The speed of the engraved cylinder can also be electronically set up to a maximum of 100m/min.

The doctor blade is fastened to a rigid support with a pivot mounted on bearings to ensure more precise and smooth movement. Everything is manually driven by means of a simple front-placed handle-wheel. The working thicknesses vary according to a centimetre scale shown on a digital display. The display also features an automatic thickness reset. The design of the belt makes up for any differences in the leather thickness to ensure that finish coating remains steady and even.

Gemata and Rollmac

A more recent acquisition has been that of the leather and textile equipment makers, Rollmac. Rollmac also manufacture rollercoating machines for synthetic leather, bonded leather, fabrics, rubber, paper, cork, wood and float glass.

Besides leather finishing machines, synthetic leather and textile machines, Rollmac and Gemata produce foaming machines that create chemicals and air emulsions with a viscosity varying from 200-950gr/l. These emulsions are used in the tannery as well as in the textile industry to produce foam products.

Future developments

All of Gemata’s products are developed by the company’s research and development team, which is made up of ten electronic and mechanical technicians.

Some of the world’s largest chemical companies utilise Gemata machines in their own research laboratories. This has led to a number of collaborative projects, which have been part funded by the European Union. Gemata are constantly involved in a number of projects with national research institutes.

Most recently, Gemata have been busy developing a prototype for the latest European CRAFT project 1999-70371 based on ‘water-free dyeing’.

This project began in February 2001, ended in March 2003 and involved four Italian, four Spanish and two Greek tanneries and the Spanish research institute AIICA, the Greek centre ELKEDE and the Italian Conciaricerca. Results of the project are to be published soon.

About Gemata

Founded in 1972, Gemata pride themselves on the strong collaborative relationship they establish with their customers during the pre-sale phase.

This service is then maintained and strengthened with punctual delivery times and a fast and specialised after-sales service.

When Gemata were established, the company were working from a small workshop and, by 1992, had become specialised manufacturers of machines for goat and sheepskin leather manufacturers.

Since then, the company have expanded continuously from an annual turnover of €260,000 with 37 employees to around €20 million and 102 employees.

Today, the company work out of two production plants, both located in Trissino: the original plant in Via Rampa dell’Agno (6,625 sq m of which 2,665 sq m are covered); and the former Rollmac plant in Via Postale Vecchia (8,733 sq m of which 3,350 sq m are covered over).

They also have an operating unit in Santa Croce sull’Arno, with a spare parts warehouse. Specialised technicians are able to assist customers in the central and southern tanning regions of Italy from this unit.

Gemata are run by a board of directors formed by two managing directors, one who coordinates the financial administration while the other manages the technical, production and commercial side of the business.

The sales of the finished products are handled by four area managers and six sales staff. The area managers handle fifty international agents who operate in 72 countries worldwide and visit more than 2,780 customers. Gemata’s area managers reached sales of around €12.5 million in 2003, an increase of 18.9% compared with 2002 and a 65.1% share of the company’s total revenue.

Given that Gemata’s machines have an average life of 8-10 years, the company’s growth is mostly attributable to new customers and new foreign markets. In 2003, Gemata began business in seven new markets and acquired 210 new foreign customers, increasing the number of customers by 8.2% compared with 2002.

In order to mark their presence in foreign markets, Gemata have also started research into the possibility of opening two new production facilities in the next year, one in Latin America and one in Asia.

In April 1999, Gemata became the first tanning machinery manufacturer to achieve ISO 9002 Quality Certification, followed by ISO 14001 Environmental Certification in July 2001 and ISO 9001:2000 in June 2003.

Diagram 1 and 2: Two diagrams show that the Starcoat rollercoater range from Gemata is able to operate in reverse and synchro modes. They feature the following:

1 Automatic roller changing device (up to 4 rollers)

2 Reverse mode doctor blade holder and blade

3 Synchro mode doctor blade holder and blade

4 Automatic synchro/reverse setting

5 Conveyor belt on outward roller to eliminate vibration

6 Pressure roller cleaning blade

7 Stainless steel washing tray for the conveyor belt with brush and scraper

8 Automatic feed spreading device for soft leathers in synchro and reverse

9 Patented enhanced feeding device for soft leather in the reverse mode

10 Brush detaching device to remove soft leather from the conveyor belt