The second-hand machinery market in Europe is still alive and kicking even though it only constitutes a small proportion of the global tannery machinery market. Many machinery manufacturers have realised that there is more money to be made from new machines and it wouldn’t take too long to count the number of machinery companies who only recondition tannery machines.

However, second-hand machinery plays an integral part in the leather industry for several reasons. For example, given the quantity and the quality of the leather produced from tanners in Italy, machinery is often upgraded or replaced on a regular basis. Machines built over a decade ago mostly incorporated cast iron frames that stand the test of time, so tanners often realise that by investing in a reconditioned machine, the quality is almost as good as new. And the fact that reconditioned machines lack today’s modern technology and are, therefore, easier to use will benefit smaller producers and tanneries in countries such as India and Pakistan where the second-hand machinery market is growing at a steady pace. Plus, with the current downturn in the global leather industry, price is certainly an important factor.


Founded in 1946, Italian specialist machinery manufacturers Mosconi SpA started reconditioning machines in around 1960, any kind of machine to begin with, but then mostly splitting machines. But with so many other companies, Mosconi soon realised that money was to be made from manufacturing rather than repairing and, in 1969, the company began producing their own splitting machines, an area where the company now specialise.

‘With all the new safety devices and new technology gradually being introduced onto the market, it was logical for us to start producing our own machines’, explains Diego Frigo, sales manager. Today, Mosconi still recondition machines but only their own. As the company manufacture 75% of the all the parts for their machines, reconditioning only their own machines means that parts are always available. This is also beneficial given that Mosconi strip every machine down to the frame and rebuild the whole thing from the beginning.


There are several machinery manufacturers in Italy that began life as second-hand machinery renovators but have moved into the production of their own machines. Escomar Italia Srl are another such company.

They began life in 1973 trading in reconditioned machines but now prefer to market themselves as actual manufacturers of tannery machines. Reconditioning still plays a part of the company’s day-to-day business, but the company will only take an old machine when it is being replaced with a new machine of their own.


Marco Aletti, general manager of Italian specialist machinery manufacturers Aletti Giovanni & Figli Srl, believes that there is still strong competition in the second-hand machinery market. ‘Ten years ago, the quality of tannery machines was first class but then, suddenly, price became an issue and the result was that the quality of the machines dropped.

‘So when a tanner invests nowadays in a second-hand machine originally built over ten years ago, he’s getting a good quality machine.’ Around 5% of the company’s turnover is generated by second-hand machinery but, like so many other companies, Aletti only recondition their own machines because the spare parts are readily available. The company also give the same guarantee for a reconditioned machine as they do for a new machine.


Alpespak is the second workshop, sister company of Alpe, formed in 1995 and specialising in the splitting machine sector. In addition to producing splitting machines from new, they also fully re-build splitting machines in each brand, size and model for wet-blue, lime and dry with spare parts, service and technical assistance offered.

They recondition all types of machines, from drums to finishing, with the emphasis on Italian made brands. They buy and import from around the world but, again, the Italian market is their main market, Arzignano in particular.

They list some important tanneries among their customers: Sadesa Group, South America, Garden State, USA, PKL and Sultan Tanners, Pakistan, Kembe, Zambia, Lederval Group, Spain, Mastrotto and Dal Maso Group, Italy, and many more. And they sell everywhere in the world: India, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Russia, Türkiye, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina…

Alpe say that tanners prefer second-hand not only due to the lower cost but also because their customers know the high quality of their machines. In addition they give a one-year guarantee. It is worth bearing in mind that second-hand can mean relatively new, only 2-3 years old as Italian tanners change their machines quite often.

Only 30% of their machinery sales are of new machines and over the past twelve years the turnover has increased from €3,500,000 to €13,000,000.

Karl Glenk

German second-hand machinery specialists Karl Glenk Maschinenbau recondition all kinds of second-hand tannery machinery, apart from rollercoating and spray machines. ‘We began trading in second-hand machines in around 1950’, explains managing director, Rolf Glenk. ‘To begin with, however, we only reconditioned machines from our local area of Backnang where there existed a large number of small tanneries.

‘Now, we import second-hand machines from many countries around the world. The machine is completely stripped and rebuilt leaving just the original frame. The machines are then shipped all over the world but, in the past 18 months, the majority of our reconditioned machines have been exported to south-east Asia.’

However, the company’s production of second-hand machines has fallen in the past two years. ‘There was definitely an increase in demand for second-hand machines in the past ten years but there seems to have been a break over the past couple of years’, continues Mr Glenk. ‘Due to the current difficulties in the leather industry, sales of our reconditioned machines are fairly weak.’ However, around two-thirds of the company’s annual revenue is generated from second-hand machinery sales.


Dutch machinery company Arendonk recondition every kind of tannery machine and will only pass over an old machine if they do not regard the work worthwhile. Around 40% of Arendonk’s annual turnover is generated from second-hand machinery and, to date, the company have sold 18,924 machines around the world. The company began reconditioning second-hand machines many years ago when their customers wanted to get rid of their old machines when they bought new ones.

‘Our main customers are tanners who are looking for good quality machines and a reliable and professional service’, explains Stefan Magielse. Arendonk import old machines from all over the world and similarly the reconditioned machines are also sold across the globe. The company also have an agent, R Y Gaitonde, in India where interest in their second-hand machines is gradually increasing.

‘Cost is an important aspect’, continues Magielse. ‘Many of the machines we recondition are as good as new, so why spend more on a new machine? Another consideration for tanners is if a certain machine is not being used full-time then a reconditioned machine is often preferred.

‘In Europe especially, the number of second-hand machines coming on the market has decreased due to the closure of so many of the tanneries in the past. Fewer tanneries means that less plant is installed, resulting in fewer existing machines becoming available.

‘It is hard for us to say whether or not reconditioning machines is a competitive industry. Reconditioning an old machine still requires original parts and lots of man-hours. But one thing we are certain of is that we are competitive with our technical service and maintenance. Thanks to our worldwide agents, sales of our reconditioned machines are still increasing.’