Metal-free? you’ll be amazed by KLF Tecnokimica!The metal-free tanning process developed by KLF Tecnokimica is technically – and economically – one of the most interesting and complete solutions available on the market today.
It’s been talked about for years but its use has been limited until now, mainly due to financial issues. In the face of an increasingly demanding and selective leather market, especially in terms of the sustainability of the production processes, it finally looks like the day of metal-free tanning has arrived or, more precisely, tanning without the use of chrome or other metallic tanning salts (zirconium, titanium or aluminium-based). In fact, research has made giant leaps and organic tanning systems that have a reduced environmental footprint are now available, allowing tanneries to obtain leathers with the same requirements and technical characteristics as those produced with chrome.
An excellent example is the system offered by KLF Tecnokimica. The Tuscany-based chemical company that, over the past few years, has been developing a remarkable, metal-free process that has exceeded the limitations of traditional, organic tanning methods, obtaining white hides with elevated resistance to light and a shrinkage temperature (ST) of around 80°C , making it an extremely stable process. But, above all, the treatment makes the firmness, consistency, tear-resistance and tensile strength of the leather almost comparable to – and sometimes even superior to – those guaranteed by traditional chrome tanning methods. Furthermore, the chromatic tones achieved during the dying stage are deep and brilliant, as to be expected when you start off with a wet-white base.
“If the designer market finally decides to go in this direction, after years of announcements and false starts, we’re ready. We were one of the first to believe in metal-free tanning and studying a system that allows us to surpass limitations in terms of applications of use. We’ve acquired a lot of experience and, today, we can safely say that our system is versatile, quick and guarantees a leather with excellent chemical and physical specifications”, declares Tuscan entrepreneur, Marco Frediani.
The process developed by KLF uses a special leather preparation technique during the tanning stage, which allows for the creation of stable and well-tanned leathers. This process allows for the sufficient swelling of the collagen fibres, prepping the surface so the synthetic products used in the next retanning phase will fix stably to the leather. The leathers are also highly reactive to oiling products, which easily adhere to the fibres to obtain the desired softness.
Without giving too much away on the specifics of the tanning system, which is based on a special combination of two active ingredients (Parolit FC and Parolit JX), KLF’s metal-free tanning system guarantees a softness and suppleness that is truly special. Thanks to a careful study of metal-complex dyes and pigments, KLF has developed a dying system that fully complies with UNI metal-free regulations. “Our products are safe, measured and always below REACH and certain MRSL limitations”, explains Frediani.
To show the market the extreme versatility of its system, KLF has developed some interesting metal-free collections, all in line with the latest fashion trends, which are increasingly gaining appreciation on the market. “We can do almost everything you usually do in chrome tanning”. However, despite the advantages, it’s still a niche product when it comes to demand. “One of the problems that has delayed the spread of this type of tanning system is undoubtedly the financial aspect”, concludes Frediani, “But, in my opinion, this is a false problem,. If we genuinely want to launch products on the market that have a lower environmental impact, we mustn’t be put off by a leather that only costs 20/30 cents more with our system. Especially in the case of products by big brands or designer labels.”.