In the leather industry, the vast majority
of existing processing vessels are simply wooden drums operating
as closed systems. This has traditionally meant that conditions
could only be measured by stopping the process and opening the vessel,
wasting time as well as chemicals and increasing the risk of mistakes.
The lack of consistency in process conditions meant a similar lack
in resulting product quality.
The aim of this project was to develop
an integrated pH and temperature measurement and control system,
capable of monitoring conditions within a process vessel, using
radio-telemetry to transmit readings from the drum to a receiver
station. The new system, which includes newly designed software,
automatically adds a range of appropriate chemicals and adjusts
temperature when needed. The technology has now been tested under
industrial conditions in several European locations, demonstrating
savings in processing time and chemical and dye usage. Waste treatment
and disposal costs are also reduced.
The system is simple enough to be used
by most tanneries, the majority of which are SMEs in Europe, and
it will aid the fight against cheap imports. EC funding proved a
great facilitator in getting the project off the ground, say partners,
pulling the consortia members together and stimulating interest
among tanners throughout Europe.