Clariant’s three-pillar approach in tanning2 November 2011
Clariant, a leading supplier of leather chemicals, have adopted a three-pillar formula to innovation. The three pillars are: the effect that any new development will have on the environment, its economic impact and viability and the demands of the customers.
‘In terms of environment, innovation needs to produce high yield with a minimum use of resources; in terms of economy, there is a need for increased process efficiency in production; to meet customer demand, we need to achieve desired quality at a reasonable cost,’ explains Harald Bauer, Global Head of Marketing and Sales for Clariant’s BU Leather Services.
This was the formula used by the company when it developed its EasyWhite Tan process, based on Clariant’s Granofin Easy F-90, an organic product that has self-reactive hybrid performance and comes in liquid form.
The challenge had been set to find a tanning process that would be faster and more efficient than the current chrome or wet-white processes, would not have the limitations of veg-tanning, would use less chemicals and would not be based on metals, aldehydes or phenols. The finished leather would need to have the advantages of chrome-tanned leather, with the same feel and handle. It also needed to reduce water consumption through the tanning process.
‘We knew what needed to be removed — chrome, aldehydes, phenols and various other agents — but we had to find an organic material which could do the job,’ says Roberta Gamarino, Head of Application Development Wet End Chemicals for Clariant’s BU Leather Services, ‘and EasyWhite Tan using Granofin Easy F-90 is the result.’
After extensive trials in major tanneries across the world, serving different segments of the leather industry, including automotive and footwear, EasyWhite Tan was introduced to the industry this year and is making a positive impact on the tanning industry.
In fact, EasyWhite Tan meets all the challenges the R&D team had to answer. Environmentally, it reduces water usage, chemical demand, and the treatment of wastewaters and chemical residue. Importantly, no additional salt is added during the process.
In terms of economy, EasyWhite Tan removes the necessity for two or three stages of tanning and production time is reduced. It still provides the highest yield from the raw material with the lowest waste. Production costs are also reduced through low chemical and water consumption and the process removes opportunities for error.
In terms of customer demand, EasyWhite Tan generates quality leather, risks are minimised, and it meets customer demands in terms of fashion, function and comfort.