A new scheme of certification for test machinery for the tanning sector is already operative in the form of a UNI standard for marking the origin of hides and EMAS accreditation for the now imminent environmental certification: these are just some of the results achieved and projects planned in the first half of 2007 by ICEC, a certification body which specialises in the leather sector, both for ISO 9001 certification (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environment management) as well as for leather products for all uses.

According to ICEC, the new frontier of certification is transparency as a competitive company instrument, capable of guaranteeing further added value to companies in the leather sector: mark of origin, design innovation, process certification, ecological hides, company excellence are, indeed, the ‘revolutionary’ certification schemes for Italian tanneries that the institute, created around ten years ago by the will of the UNIC (Italian tanning industry association), is launching on the market and which were illustrated in detail in the last edition of Lineapelle.

In April the accreditation for EMAS, that is the European system of environmental certification, which means a further factor of highlighting the commitment of the companies involved as far as the environment is concerned, will most probably be made official at the next edition of the Bologna show.

The mark of origin, on the other hand, seems to be evolving quickly and significantly: by the summer, the relevant UNI standard should be issued; ICEC is also applying for Sincert accreditation. The phases of the leather processing which must be performed in Italy in order to apply the marking have already been defined. The certification scheme foresees identifying and following each lot of leather throughout the production process. Many tanneries are already involved, having participated in the pilot project for defining the scheme.

The certification scheme ICEC_TS 503 ‘Metrological guarantee of test machinery for the tanning sector’ is also operative. In order to guarantee metrological conformity of the machines, the manufacturer must satisfy some product requirements, including the presentation of a ‘statement of conformity’ for each machine which identifies: the standard references of the tests that the machine can perform in conformity; the outcome of the final inspections, the unambiguous identification of each part which influences the metrological quality, the name of the manufacturer, the statement of conformity to EC directives and to the reference technical standards, the model (the commercial name if applicable) and the frame number or serial number, the year of construction of the machine, appropriate instructions for use and for maintaining metrological conformity to the reference documents in time.

The certification scheme, already adopted by a company which is a leader in the production of test machines and accessories for the leather sector, Giuliani Tecnologie of Turin, also foresees a ‘calibration certificate’ regarding the machine, in conformity with the principles of ISO 17025. The manufacturer adopting the scheme must also demonstrate the adequate management of some managerial and operative requirements referring to their own organisation, in accordance with the principles of ISO 9001. All of this in order for greater quality guarantee and metrological confirmation of the products sold to the market.

As of now ICEC has certified the quality management system of about 100 Italian tanning companies, 80% of which are equally shared between Tuscany and Veneto, 15% are in Campania and 5% in other regions, particularly Lombardy and Piedmont. It has also officialised the certification of the environmental management system of over 30 tanneries, half of which are in Tuscany, 25% in Veneto, 15% in Campania and the remaining 10% in other parts of Italy. It has also certified the products of 24 tanning companies: 45% in Tuscany, 40% in Veneto, 5% in Campania and 10% in Lombardy and Marches.