Inspiration for a greener tanning industry from the Arzignano tanning district.

Good Manufacturing Practices in the tanning sector

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‘It would be desirable to apply Good Manufacturing Practices, GMP, methodologies to the tanning production system, borrowing, for example, from the agri-food and cosmetics sectors’. This is noted by Roberto Vago from the technical departments of ASSOMAC, which is the Italian association of manufacturers of technologies for tanning. Thus introducing replicable operating standards that can tackle sustainability with a holistic approach and which apply to the largest number of the leather supply chain industries.

The implication of this for the tanning technology is expressed, according to Vago, in a series of features that have already been included on many machines. The expert explains them, transforming the word ‘INDUSTRY’ into the acronym of an Intuitive Interface, Networking of supply chain, Data exchange and communication, User-friendly and reproducibility, Serviceable, which is functional and with a predictive maintenance, Traceability of production, use of Robotics and, finally, the ability to guarantee a Yield in terms of performance and quality.

‘The technologies of the leather sector must consider importing and adapting what has already been developed in other similar sectors, such as in the textile industry’, emphasises Vago and adds, ‘We must, therefore, keep an open approach, because I do not see a limit in the business dimensions rather than in a close-minded approach that is typical of a craft approach’. Another problem that he identifies is related to the training of the last 30 years, which he believes has cancelled the technical skills that qualified the manufacturing sectors. He concluded by saying, ‘Today, recovering this gap means investing in the consolidation of the know-how of the remaining experts’.

On being asked, ‘What are your dreams for this sector and its work in the future?’ he answered, ‘It is a difficult question. Personally, I try in my role as a lecturer to make sure that the experiences do not get lost, as, Italy, in this sector, must consolidate a leading role, and I believe that today it can be achieved only by presenting experiences and not hiding them’.

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