With about 1200 companies and over 18 thousand employees, the Italian tanning industry is a historical and consolidated example of circular economy, as it removes a large amount of waste from the slaughtering industry, significantly reducing the environmental impact and creating a noble product with technical features and top-level performance that are maintained over time.
And it is precisely in this field that the Leather Innovation Challenges 2025 comes into play, the latest tool proposed by Italian Leather Research Institute-SSIP, designed and built to provide companies in the sector with new technological trajectories for the five-year period 2020-2025. Leather Innovation Challenges 2025 is a project of Open Innovation implemented by SSIP as part of the Voucher Measure for innovation consultancy – Directorial Decree 25 September 2019 – Ministry of Economic Development.
The programme intends to launch a selective scouting activity for innovative technologies and solutions, aimed at starting partnerships for the launch of Industrial Research and Experimental Development Projects, for the Development of Technology Start-Ups and the creation of prototypes in the industrial sector 4.0, in the following areas of interest:


PRODUCT INNOVATION
New materials, molecules and technologies and the production of innovative leather families, both in relation to the manufacturing processes used and to the ability of simultaneously satisfying a series of innovation and sustainability needs.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Innovative solutions implementing waste valorisation strategies deriving from the tanning industry, as well as waste from the leather supply chain.
INDUSTRY 4.0 AND LEATHER SMART FACTORY
Solutions that introduce new industry 4.0 processes and methodologies for leather processing; in particular, of particular interest: approaches aimed at implementing process automation, remote control and the introduction of smart technologies to monitor the tanning production, with a view to optimising the production process, promoting water and energy saving, and minimising the impact that production can have on workers’ health and the environment.
The call is open until 31 January 2021 to all public and private subjects interested in promoting technological solutions and advanced planning.