Before Tanning Tech took place this year, a number in the Italian industry were anticipating a disastrous show. Thankfully, the show proved better and more fruitful than many had predicted.

‘We have to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition, especially in Asia’, said Giulio Tandura, vice president of Assomac’s tannery machinery arm. He was speaking at the Assomac press conference at the Tanning Tech fair in Bologna, October 30. Many European tannery suppliers are fearful of the increased competition from Asian suppliers, especially China.

Tanning Tech was held alongside Lineapelle in the Bologna Fiera, October 28-31, and is the leading leather industry fair showcasing the latest tannery machinery and leather chemicals. ‘The show has been one of hope rather than a disaster following a difficult year for the European leather industry especially in Italy’, he added. ‘Many companies had delayed buying equipment while the strength of the euro against the dollar remained so high, making exports more expensive.’

The Italian tanning industry has had a difficult time in 2003 and, in the third quarter, turnover in bovine leather fell by 7.2%, calf fell by 4.5% and sheep and goat skin leather turnover fell by 2%. Exports of tannery machines during the first half of 2003 also fell by 11.5%. ‘It is no secret that things have been tough in the tanning industry’, said Amilcare Baccini, managing director, Assomac. ‘But I have seen many people at the fair especially in the chemicals hall and it looks like they have been doing some business.’

Tanning Tech remains the leading fair for tannery technology with many companies unveiling their new machinery and chemicals for the first time. The draw of the fair to visitors outside of Europe continues with higher than usual levels of Asian and Indian sub-continental visitors observed. Assomac also hosted a number of international delegations from Egypt, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

A total of 270 exhibitors from 25 countries took part at Tanning Tech covering three halls of the Bologna Fiera. From the total 15,000 sq m of exhibition space two halls were occupied by tannery machinery and equipment makers and the remaining hall housed leather chemical manufacturers.

The next issue of Leather International will highlight the best of the latest machinery and leather chemical technology on display at the fair. Tanning Tech is organised by Assomac and will take place on October 26-29, 2004 alongside Lineapelle.