Shoes, belts, handbags, jackets, gloves, car seats – the list of items crafted from leather is long. The characteristics of real leather are hard to beat. But they would mean nothing without the tanning process. The age old practice of tanning is what makes leather so durable. Tanning stabilizes the internal structure of the leather, preventing the natural proteins from decomposing over time.
For decades, mineral tanning has been the predominate technology in the leather industry. Over 100 years ago, chromium was introduced as an alternative to traditional tanning agents. Today, 90 per cent of the world’s leather is chrome tanned. This is a problem. It has been known for a long time that chromium is toxic and a potential hazard to both humans and the environment.
“And this leads to second issue,” adds Pekka Johnsson, Sr. Manager, Business Development & Sales, ChemSolutions. “The leather tanning industry is one of the most water intensive industries in the world. But tanners have put up with the high cost of chromium waste and wastewater disposal because there has not been a better alternative. That is, until now.
Kemira Tanfor T is a game changer, delivering great performance on many levels. Development in a joint effort by Kemira’s segment ChemSolutions in Tiel, the Netherlands, and the R&D center in Espoo, Tanfor T is free of chromium, aldehydes, and other agents that create unwanted, expensive side-effects for tanners The Tanfor T chemistry is based on the aluminium and silicon, both elements naturally occurring in the environment. These and other more sustainable components give Tanfor T excellent green credentials.
Tanfor T decreases the cost of solid and liquid waste streams for tanners. Due to the effective tanning action, a very high portion of the Tanfor T is fixed in the leather. The remaining amount in the tanning bath poses no threat to the environment, and the water is easier to treat. Also, many tanners struggle with color. The whiteness produced by Tanfor T is exceptionally clean and bright.
Where other chromium-free tanning agents have limitations, Tanfor T has none. Stefan van der Burgh, Application Manager, ChemSolutions, says, “Tanfor T is ideal for any leather application, be it shoes, auto interiors, upholstery or garments. The Tanfor T system has been extensively tested. Tanners can adopt Tanfor T without having to make any major adjustments to their process.”
Tanfor T will be officially launched at the 2012 Tanning Tech show in Bologna, Italy. “This is going to be a big, important launch for ChemSolutions,” says Johnsson. “We have many exciting activities planned to bring this great product to the world market.”
Kemira has on March 6, 2014 completed the ChemSolutions' formic acid business divestment to Taminco Corporation. The transaction included a manufacturing asset for formic acid, including the feed and the airport runway deicing product lines. If you are interested in Tanfor T, please contact Taminco.