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1. Fleshing
The excess flesh and fatty tissue under the hide is removed by a fleshing machine before the hides are loaded into drums.
2. Soaking
The hides are washed to remove dirt and blood from the surface. The soaking process also restores lost moisture to hides that have been salted and stored for long periods before processing.
3. Hair removal
Water, lime and sulfide are added to the hides. The hair is attacked by the chemicals and breaks off at the surface.
4. Liming
More water, lime and sulfide are added. Unwanted proteins are removed from the hide during this time.
5. Deliming
Deliming removes the lime and alkaline chemicals present in the limed hide.
6. Bating
Proteolytic enzymes are added which clean up the grain surface and further destroy any remaining hair roots and pigments. This makes the grain surface softer and cleaner.
7. Pickling
This solution is very acidic. This acid environment makes the hides ready to accept the tanning chemicals. The addition of salt prevents any swelling of the hide. After penetration of the salt and acid the hides are in a preserved state.
8. Tanning & Basification
Tanning converts the hide into a stable material which will not putrefy or be attacked by bacteria. Chrome powder is added which dissolves and penetrates into the hide structure and forms crosslinks with the collagen. Once adequate penetration of the chrome has occurred, the hides are basified. The leather is fully tanned when it is resistant to heat and won't denature (shrink) at 100oC.
9. Sammying
Excess moisture is squeezed out of the hides by passing them through large rollers under pressure.
1. Splitting & Shaving
The wet blue is split through the middle to a required thickness for end use. Any further correction of the thickness is done by shaving off any fleshy material not wanted.
2. Retanning
This is a second tanning step. This step determines many of the properties of the leather when processing is ended. Retanning can make the leather softer or firmer.
3. Dyeing & Fatliquoring
The dyestuff is added to colour the leather. An oil is added so that the leather will remain flexible after drying. The fatliquor also gives the leather a soft feel.
4. Vacuum Drying
The hides can have moisture removed in a vacuum dryer, where the hides are spread on warm metal plates and the moisture is removed under vacuum.
5. Air Drying
The hides are hung up and air dried to get conditioned at room temperature.
6. Toggling
The hides are stretched across a perforated frame and held in place with clips called toggles. The frames are then slid into channels in drying ovens.
7. Buffing
For hides which have a damaged, faulty or uneven grain surface, this can be smoothed by mechanical sanding. This will improve the final appearance of the leather surface.
8. Dry Milling
The hides are placed in a large dry drum and tumbled until the desired softness is obtained.
9. Finishing
This process applies film-forming materials on the surface of the hide. Here is where layers of pigments are added if required. This process also adds the protective sealant to the surface.
10. Ironing
During this process the hide acquires the desired brightness and shine.
11. Measuring
An accurate measurement of the finished leather is taken using an electronic measuring machine before packing and shipping.
12. Warehouse
It is the area where the finished leathers are stored for the prompt delivery of samplings.
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