Tuesday, July 11, 2017

News: Xeros inks ten year tannery deal

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Xeros, the cleantech company based in Rotherham, has signed a ten year contract with Wollsdorf Leder Schmidt & Co. to convert its re-tanning operations in Austria to use Xeros' patented polymer beads.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), Xeros is a Leeds University spin-out that initially focused on deploying its special polymers in the laundry industries. The next focus was the leather tanning industry, followed by the textile sector. In each case, the re-usable beads can massively reduce the amounts of water needed.

Targeting the $50 billion leather processing market, the contract follows extensive trials which demonstrated material reductions in process inputs and effluent production, radically improving the sustainability of production whilst maintaining high quality leather output.

Wollsdorf primarily produces and exports premium quality leather to the luxury leather market, including to manufacturers of a number of leading car brands.

Last year, the parties announced that Xeros' technology had been successfully applied at full scale in the production environment of the tannery. As judged by Wollsdorf, leather produced by Xeros’ technology was equivalent to that produced by its conventional process while reducing water consumption by approximately 60% and effluent mass by around 50%. Chemical consumption was also reduced by a material amount.

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Further scale trials have either been completed or are in progress with an additional five European tanneries as part of the commercialisation of Xeros' innovative technology across the leather tanning industry. The tanneries at which these trials are being conducted produce leather for a range of global markets, including footwear, fashion and automotive.

Mark Nichols, chief executive of Xeros, said: "Our contract with Wollsdorf confirms that we have a viable technology for the tanning industry that can be incorporated simply into the production process. In partnership with our customers, we can radically improve sustainability whilst sharing in the value our innovative technology creates.

"The considerable interest we are witnessing from many significant players in the leather industry is a strong indication of the potential to rapidly increase the deployment of our technology in what is a global scale industry."

Tanneries, particularly those in Europe and the Americas, have limited water access and effluent discharge rights. Even if they could invest in more drums and other production equipment, the water related constraints would prevent them from increasing their capacity.

With minor modifications, the Xeros' technology can be used with existing wooden, stainless steel and polypropylene drums, removing the need for tanneries to purchase new drums.

As in the conventional process, drums are loaded with hides, chemicals and water, except the Xeros process replaces a large percentage of the water with its reusable polymer spheres. The polymers also deliver chemicals more effectively, so the quantity of chemicals required is reduced.

Xeros website

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