Salt-free Chromium Tanning: Practical Approaches

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M. Sathish
R. Aravindhan
J. Raghava Rao


Chromium tanning finds a prominant place in leather manufacturing for permanent stabilization of hide/skin matrix. Though, it has multiple advantages in terms of high thermal stability, easy process and low cost etc., the current practice is not environmentally sustainable. Poor chromium exhaustion and TDS load generation are the major environmental threats of conventional chromium tanning systems. On the other hand, salt-free chromium tanning is identified as one of the efficient alternative approaches for hide/skin matrix stabilization. However, it has not been commercially practiced due to the several practical difficulties. In this work attempts have been made to develop a practically viable high-performance salt-free chromium tanning system using deliming liquor as tanning float and changing the order of addition of masking salt. The developed methodologies completely avoid the use of salt/basification process and it is suitable for all kinds of raw materials and tannery houses. Besides, the process enjoys 71-77% reduction in TDS load and the uptake of chromium is around 90%. The physical strength characteristics are on par with conventional process and the leathers exhibit good grain tightness and roundness. The developed methodologies are simple and do not require any specialty chemicals.     

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