In June, Florian Döppert from TFL Ledertechnik spoke at FILK in Freiberg, Germany, about the impact retanning systems have on chrome-tanned and chrome-free leathers (CFLs). He showed how the introduction of non-toxic cationic tanning agents in the wet-end process for CFLs create new options for reducing the total amount of synthetic and natural tanning agents.

And in the spirit of new options and thinking beyond the confines of traditional practices, it’s imperative that beamhouse processing remains progressive, modern and accountable.

According to reports, the market for leather chemicals is projected to reach nearly $8 billion by 2019, growing with a CAGR of 7.64% during 2014–19. These are impressive figures, but when you consider the demand – especially for leather footwear and automotive interiors – the numbers quickly add up. Unsurprisingly, the Asia-Pacific region has consistently dominated the leather chemicals industry and is expected to remain the major market by value well into 2019.

“The chemical industry is changing at a rapid pace,” said Stahl’s CEO, Huub van Beijeren, after the company acquired BASF’s leather chemical business last year. “To stay ahead of the game, we need a certain size to invest in the two key topics in our industry: next-generation innovations and sustainability.” It was a clear indication that long-term success hinges on making bold executive decisions that compete and keep pace with the rest of the market. That means investing heavily in science and products that will propel leather into a future where transparency and ecofriendliness are key.

In our extended feature starting on page 32, we detail the latest generation of products for unique tanning, retanning and finishing results from Cologne-based speciality chemicals company Lanxess. Zschimmer & Schwarz also covers its latest offerings, like Novaltan DPA, which improves waterproofing and can also be used to wet back crust. There is also a Q&A with GSC Group’s chairman, Adriano Serafini, and Diego Cisco, sales manager for overseas, who talk about the chemistry of the company and how it has yielded years of success, including its development of low-impact fatliquors, such as G-SOFT AC/1,

which is produced from renewable sources. Considering the strength of companies and their commitment to innovation, progress will continue – we can be sure of that.