New Wave Leathers Pty Ltd have confirmed that major upgrade programmes for their two Australian wet-blue tanneries at Melbourne and Gunnedah were proceeding faster than planned. The tanneries have been owned by New Wave since earlier this year.

New Wave have operated their Toowoomba wet-blue tannery since 2000 and achieved world class quality levels by installing latest technology drums and associated systems including highly sophisticated computer programming that controls the tanning process.

‘Our aim is to replicate the Toowoomba process at the other two tanneries as soon as possible’, said Robert Hein, managing director of New Wave. ‘We already have made big changes to the operations at Melbourne and Gunnedah and are seeing significant improvements in tannage and grading consistency. The speed of the changes means the improvements have been made much earlier than we had expected.’

New Wave are part of the Nippon Meat Packers Australia group of companies and were formed in 2000 to process cattle hides produced as a byproduct of Nippon Meat’s Australian meat packing operations, which were previously processed under contract by other Australian tanneries. New Wave’s production has nearly quadrupled since 2000 and the great majority of New Wave’s production is now sourced from other Australian meat packing operators.

‘We were never happy with our product quality and consistency until we began to operate our own tannery at Toowoomba in 2000’, said Hein. ‘We could see the potential before then and it is very satisfying to see that potential now fulfilled.’

According to Hein, New Wave’s three tanneries enable New Wave to process a wide range of wet-blue hides in large quantities, including lighter high quality southern hides to complement the heavier grain-fed hides for which New Wave are well known. ‘We have responded to our customers’ requests to increase the size and range of our production. We can now offer a wider range of wet-blue hides in considerably higher numbers than before.’

Hein says there are no current plans to acquire further tanneries in Australia. ‘We are now able to produce the numbers and range of wet-blue hides that we feel is necessary for us to be a strong presence in the international market place. Our emphasis now is on making further quality and efficiency improvements.’