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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides and skins of animals, primarily cattlehide. The tanning process converts the putrescible skin into a durable, long-lasting and versatile natural material for various uses.

  • The leather industry and the fur industry are distinct industries that are differentiated by the importance of their raw materials.

  • In the leather industry the raw materials are by-products of the meat industry, with the meat having higher value than the skin.

  • There are a number of processes whereby the skin of an animal can be formed into a supple, strong material.

  • Some forms of leather are vegetable tanned leather, chrome- tanned leather, Aldehyde-tanned leather, Synthetic-tanned leather, Alum-tanned leather, and rawhide.

Leather Production Process

  • The leather manufacturing process is divided into 3 fundamental sub-processes: preparatory stages, tanning and crusting. All true leathers will undergo these sub-processes. A further sub-process, surface coating can be added into the leather process sequence but not all leathers receive surface treatment.

  • Enzymes like proteases, lipases and amylases have an important role in the soaking, dehairing, degreasing, and bating operations of leather manufacturing.

Technology

  • An institute has developed a three step tanning methodology towards near zero discharge leather processing. Cow hides are dehaired using standard enzyme based dehairing method.

  • Common salt is traditionally used for curing preservation of hides and skins which is the major pollutant in the tanneries.

  •  Improved methods have been developed that use less amount of salt in admixture with certain biocides and thus restrict the growth of bacteria biocides and thus restrict the growth bacteria to considerable extent.

Market and Report

  • World leather exports grew moderately, from US$ 46 billion to US$ 61 billion. World leather exports can be categorised in to raw hides and skins (40%), leather articles (49%) and furskins (11%).

  • China, Hong Kong, Italy, USA and France are major exporters of leather in the world.

  • Composition of Indian leather exports has undergone a radical change, from being a mere exporter of raw hides and skins, to a status of an exporter of value added leather products.

  • India has been exporting only finished leather because of export restriction on semifinished leather. Total leather and leather manufactures exports stood at Rs.10,286 crores. Leather footwear is the largest component of leather exports, with a share of 26%.

  • India’s major export markets for leather handbags are USA, Germany, UK and Spain. In UK and Spain, Italy is the top exporting country of leather handbags.

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