ArsTannery Magazine

More and more finishing in the future of DERMACOLOR

In the beautiful Castelfranco headquarters, the management team of the Tuscan leather chemicals company illustrates the new company course, which aims to offer customers a complete assistance service from the wet phase to the finishing phase rifinizione

Company news ArsTannery

March 2024

More and more finishing in the future of DERMACOLOR

Inaugurated a couple of years ago, the new Dermacolor headquarters in Castelfranco di Sotto (Pisa) is a perfect combination of aesthetics and functionality. The approximately five thousand covered square metres that were added to the pre-existing plant were used to offer new elegant reception areas, expand the production departments, enlarge the warehouse and extend all the in-house research laboratories. This was not just an extension, but a complete reorganisation of the spaces, which were revised with a view to an all-round relaunch of the business.

If in the part open to visitors, the large showroom housing the latest leather collection for S/S 25 stands out, located next to the ultra-modern meeting room with its huge windows, in the internal departments what strikes the eye is the large area dedicated to the application and analysis laboratories, which represent the real heart of the company.

“We have considerably enlarged the space allocated to the laboratories,” explain Valentina and Viola Palagini with Andrea and Marco Meucci, the four young managers who now run the company founded in 1981 on the initiative of their respective parents. In particular, the analysis laboratory has been enlarged and even tripled the space for the laboratory dedicated to finishing products. The latter is also the symbol of the company’s new direction, which aims to offer customers the complete chemical service package, from the wet phase to finishing. “In the last few years, we have dedicated a great deal of effort to finishing, investing in a dedicated production plant and creating a good working team, made up of technicians and researchers, who collaborate daily with the group that deals with the wet phase in the development of ever new articles,” explain the company managers.
Development and research, after all, have always been the company’s fuels: Dermacolor has become a fundamental point of reference in the Tuscan tanning district and beyond. In recent years, in spite of the situation of uncertainty that dominates the sector and the increase in the cost of raw materials and transport that is reducing margins and causing great concern, the Tuscan company has managed to grow, even abroad, reaping the benefits of an activity always carried out with the utmost commitment and great professionalism.

What does research at Dermacolor focus on today?
“Our R&D departments are always working to find innovative solutions that can meet market demands, starting with lowering the bisphenol content in all our synthetic tannins. In general, both at the barrel and finishing product level, we are focusing a lot on the development of green products with a high percentage of bio-based components that can offer excellent technical performance, particularly with regard to lightfastness and PVC. And then we always try to anticipate problems, eliminating all those substances that are not banned today but could be in the future, studying and experimenting with safer alternatives”.

Regarding the wet phase of leather processing, what are your latest successes?
“Without going into the merits of individual products, we can mention the new glutaraldehyde-free white tans that offer very interesting results. Also very important is the enzymatic liming with hair recovery that considerably reduces the pollution load of the leather depilation process. This is a real innovation that is beginning to take hold in the sector, even if it involves a change in processing procedures and therefore takes time to be accepted and implemented by tanneries”.

From the left: Marco Meucci, Viola Palagini, Valentina Palagini, Andrea Meucci

What are the latest challenges in the area of finishing?
“In this area, the key word is always leather upgrading, a crucial factor for the market grappling with a raw material that does not always meet demand. Here the research is continuous and today we have absolutely transparent defect masking systems that leave the leather extremely soft”.

Let’s talk about certifications. Where do you stand?
“At Dermacolor, we care about using products that are as safe as possible and we have always endeavoured to prove this by first complying with the 9001 and 14001 Certifications, then the Reach Regulation and finally the requirements of ZDHC. Today we have around 300 products certified to ZDHC level 3 (the highest) with more to follow soon”.

An exterior view of the Dermacolor headquarters
One of the testing laboratories

There has been talk of the LCA of chemical products, another demand that will soon reach chemical producers from tanneries. What do you think about it?
“It is a complex issue. Obviously sustainability needs scientific data to prove its concreteness and avoid accusations of greenwashing. From this point of view, the Life Cycle Assessment of Chemicals (LCA) is one of the tools needed to calculate the environmental impact of leather. This is why with UNPAC we are participating in a project to develop a system for calculating the LCA of chemical products together with experts from Spin 360. The idea is to develop a tool that will allow us to provide this calculation without spending a fortune, because all these requests end up representing increasingly onerous additional costs for our industry”.

Distribution agreement with ICAP Leatherchem

Dermacolor has just signed a distribution agreement with ICAP Leatherchem, a company based in Lainate (Milan) that produces a complete range of quality products such as acrylic and polyurethane resins, urethane-acrylic copolymers, lacquers, etc. “This is an advantageous agreement for both companies because we know the local market and they allow us to expand our offer with products that we do not have, such as acrylic and polyurethane resins,” explain Dermacolor.

An application laboratory
A glimpse of the finishing laboratory
The meeting room

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