The tannery at our site in Leverkusen, Germany

Main Reaction - The TFL Blog | April 2022

The Grand Tour de Cuir

Leather is the core business of TFL, but do you actually know how leather is manufactured? To fill this gap the Leverkusen Lab Team took the most pragmatic approach available, a “tour de cuir”. At regular intervals the colleagues in Leverkusen give tours around the process of leather manufacturing. From business partners to school classes, the technical staff was always able to teach everyone something they hadn’t yet known about this material.

For example, manufacturing time, single work steps, the options for sustainable leather and the simple versatility of this material are often misunderstood aspects, which can be enlightened on this occasion.

The event starts with a presentation about the theoretical work steps in leather manufacturing. During this presentation all necessary production steps are explained, and a standardised production process is shown. After the participants have gone through the “boring” part of the event, the tour takes them into the tannery lab.

The experience starts with the first encounter of a flesh industry left over: the raw hide. Now, the participants’ curiousity is aroused. The lab team provides them with gloves and protective gear, so that the tour becomes “a touch and try environment”. From this moment on, the group is accompanied through all necessary process steps; some are shown in fast forward mode and others in real time. The presenters talk about the way from raw hide to leather, from wet-blue to crust, from something hard to something pleasant and how to turn a cow into a crocodile lookalike. Until now, the participants have smelled, felt and seen what is takes to make a nice piece of leather, which you can find all around you. You don’t think so? Research found out that every person touches at least four pieces of leather every day. Still not convinced? Then please count and here are some clues: belts/shoes/car seats and steering wheels/wallets/bags/jackets and many other things.

After the participants have seen the tannery, the tour takes them back to the scientific perspective by visiting the analytical lab for fastness. This is where the participants can get an idea of what leather can and must withstand in everyday life. You, as well as the participants, would be amazed at how persistent this material can be.

Finally, the group gathers around an evaluation table and sees a wide range of final articles and rare exhibits. These have been collected over the years through international travelling and networking. The variety covers everything from fish through ray, snake and crocodile, genuine and fake to elephant. At this point, everyone got a lot of questions answered, new questions have occurred and of course, it is now allowed to get the most of the technical knowledge out of the presenters.

You may wonder, why we take the trouble to show our labs in such detail. The answer is simple: the tannery is interesting and the material leather even more so. A lot of false knowledge and wrong assumptions are around. We want to address this by emphasizing the value, the quality and uniqueness of leather again and leave people a tad bit smarter and more informed than they were before.

Felix, Germany

Leather Technician at TFL
#leatherambassador #rheinlandgreetings #bloggerrookie
Send a message

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