A high turnout at the latest conference of the Association of Italian Leather Chemists (AICC), which took place on November 23 in the beautiful setting of the Villa Mattarello Theatre called “Technological and scientific innovation in the tanning sector”. The 10th technical conference in Veneto was attended by 320 delegates, thanks to the presence of qualified foreign speakers too, who gave an international connotation to the event.

After greetings from the mayor of Arzignano, Giorgio Gentilin, who thanked the association for the constant stimulus to research and innovation, the conference opened with the end-of-term reports by AICC’s president and secretary, respectively Ernesto Pisoni and Adriano Peruzzi, who reported the many training and dissemination activities promoted regionally and nationally, including among the latest, the enhancement of the website and the association’s new logo, and above all the expansion of the membership base with the national associate members going from 350 to 605, thus turning AICC into one of the largest chemical-tanning associations in the world.  AICC’s  coordinator for the Veneto area, Giancarlo Lovato, too, has pointed out in  his speech the increase in the number of members, in this case local members, up to 293, and announced the completion of a comprehensive section dedicated to the heritage of historical books and documents owned by AICC (which also included the restoration of ancient volumes on leather processing) and set up in Arzignano’s library.

As for the technical aspects of the Conference, five studies were presented during the evening. Eric Poles of Silvateam presented a study carried out in collaboration with two universities on the antibacterial power of vegetable-tanned leather for the production of items that come into direct contact with human skin and, consequently, their effect on sweating, bacterial proliferation and the production of metabolites, showing their healthiness both in comparison with chrome-tanned leathers and above all with synthetic materials.

Jeffry Guthrie-Strachan of Trumpler presented a study that took two years of work on the COD of fattening and retanning products, and in particular the possibility of providing COD values to the discharges of their combinations. Still addressing the COD theme,  Daniel Herta of TFL, dealt with the subject coming from another perspective and, in particular, presented the possibility of obtaining a significant reduction in the production of chrome-free leathers with a more easily biodegradable COD residue.

Important technological developments were also presented. Adriano Peruzzi of Erretre presented a study on the impact of tumbling on the chemical-physical characteristics of leather and on the  variation in the distribution of fatliquors in the leather section. Research lead to the development of a new measurement technique for the content of fatliquors in leather sections, based on the analysis of images obtained through photomicrographs of coloured histological leather sections.

Then Antonello Marchino of Evolution Tech talked about a new technological advancement of rotary presses for leather finishing, which allows printing at lower temperature and with lower pressures, thus obtaining a better definition of the design (a novelty that is particularly interesting for the leathers destined for the automotive sector).

And finally a short speech by Andrea Baldisseri, manager of the Province of Vicenza, who talked about the marked reduction of COV emissions (relating to solvents) in the finishing process.

Among the non-technical speeches, we must mention the extraordinary participation by Dietrich Tegtmeyer, former president of IULTCS, who presented a preview of the World Congress of tanning chemists to be held in the city of Dresden in June 2019, and the participation by Prof.  Anthony Covington, of the University of Northampton, who mentioned the story of the English Association of Leather Chemists (SLTC) and presented a new reprint of the book dedicated to the tanning process “Leather Technologist Pocket Book”, published by SLTC.

 

The conference was preceded by the national assembly, which saw to the renewal of AICC Board of Directors for the three-year period 2019-2021, which will soon lead to the appointment of the new president of Italian tanning chemists.