We herewith would like to consider the reasons which led to research and development of automotive leather which could be not only chrome-free but also Metal-free
and aldehyde-free. Thus our target has been to prepare a product able to match product features and performance requirements in line with chrome-tanned leathers. All limits have been overcome so far regarding alternative types of tannage such as wet white and there is complete compliance with continual evolution of rules, regulations and laws referring to environmental and health issues.
A description of the new stages of leather processing, together with the most defining features of the new product and its process for accomplishment will follow highlighting the most significant differences with traditional processes outside automotive, too (chrome, wet white, vegetable leather). Different processes are then analyzed and compared highlighting consumption (of water and chemical products), processing times and polluting footprint in waste waters and sludge. All products are analyzed and compared in terms of physical, chemical and mechanical performance, but also biodegradability and waste disposal.
Tests conducted on Metal Free automotive in LCA (Life cycle Assessment) terms show that it exhibits physical, mechanical and product features in line with chrome leathers (including light and heat-fastness which are superior to wet white leather). It also shows a complete lack of metals in all intermediary stages and features which enable it to be used as agricultural fertilizer. Fewer water and chemical product demands during processing stages, together with better biodegradability properties compared to chrome and wet white tanned leathers also clearly emerge.