South Yorkshire company Xeros has announced big plans to revolutionise washing machines, and has agreed a development programme with one of the world's largest suppliers of chemicals for the leather industry.
German group Lanxess, which has a £6-billion turnover, will work with the AIM-listed firm to use its polymer-bead cleaning technology and further develop it for the leather-processing industry.
The high consumption of water, chemicals and energy, combined with an increasingly urgent need for organisational transparency and sustainability, are the biggest challenges facing the leather industry today.
In laboratory trials with the University of Northampton, Xeros showed its patented process produces a superior finished leather product while it also significantly reduces the environmental impact from water usage and effluents.
The joint programme aims to enable the processing of high-quality leather on a commercial and scalable basis using Xeros's high-performance polymer beads. The partnership intends to have a prototype in tannery trials in the second half of 2015.
Xeros has also said it is "hugely encouraged by the momentum building across the group's activities" as it updated the stock market on its half-year performance. Income has doubled to £172,000, but it's the progress made in developing new markets and partners that motivates Xeros CEO Bill Westwater.
"The building blocks are in place for acceleration in our primary commercial laundry business," he says. "The combined impact of water scarcity and energy conservation, especially in our key US market, are now intense market trends. Our current enterprise customers are demonstrating that Xeros bead cleaning provides a robust and effective solution. This was clear from the excitement that we created at Clean Show 2015, with 61 channel partners signing up in four days to provide us with a scalable sales and service capability across North America. It is not only in commercial laundry where we have seen success. The joint development programme with Lanxess provides an entirely incremental opportunity to develop and ultimately commercialise a Xeros bead solution in the $50-billion leather-processing market."