2013 – 2016: UNITED KINGDOM
A clever scientist came up with the idea of using polymer Sferes to more effectively deliver chemicals into hides. We set up a research facility at the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton to develop the idea.
Early lab trials were successful and we filed for patents for the system in tanning and retanning.
Refine the System
We worked in the lab to optimise the system to reduce water and chemicals while improving the quality of leather.
It Works in Production!
Multiple production scale trials were successfully conducted with Wollsdorf tannery in Austria, proving that the system can work in a production environment with commercial retanning recipes.
2017-2018: Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Mexico
Broader Industry Validation
After successful trials at Wollsdorf, we needed to demonstrate that the system could work for any type of leather, not just automotive. So for the next two years we worked with over 20 tanneries in Europe and Mexico, using our system to make leather for many different applications: automotive, shoe, high-end fashion, heavy weight, and waterproof leathers. We worked with aniline and finished leathers, full grain and nubuck. Having conducted over 100 different demonstrations with these tanneries, we can confidently say that our system can produce better quality leather while using less water and chemicals than the traditional process.
Making it Work in Daily Production
Once we had successfully proven the use of Sferes in production scale demonstrations with numerous tanneries, we started working on how to manage large numbers of Sferes in daily production. The tanneries we did demonstrations with helped us to understand the challenges of handling Sferes. We spent the next 18 months developing a system that is low cost, quick to set-up, and easy to use for tanneries. Our system is tailored to each tannery’s specific production environment, helping them to gain the benefits from the Qualus system while minimising any disruption to their production.
Ready for Business
Having demonstrated the system for many applications with tanneries in Europe and Mexico, and having developed an easy to use production system, Qualus is now open for business. The first set of tanneries to use our system in full production (not just demonstration) are on target to go live as per plan. And we are now able to work with tanneries in Europe, Mexico, South America, and Asia.