Leather Factory Tour

Shenzhen Adventure Day 17

Today we visited the PrimeAsia Leather Factory.

Welcome to PrimeAsia A warm welcome.

A ‘real’ welcome.

The leather comes in to the factory pre-treated. The tannery is (typically) these days co-located with the slaughterhouse. At the tannery they chrome treat the raw leather and then put it in a shipping container to wherever it is going.

Pile of raw leather “wet blues”, waiting to be processed

Quality Inspection

The leather is then cut through the middle (ie, reducing the thickness) to a top-grain piece and a suede piece.

The suede leather is then buffed down to standardize thickness. (the top-grain needs no buffing as it is cut to the right size).

The leather dust is then captured and put into random products, like asphalt.

Leather dust

The leathers are then dyed in these big tumblers. They can do any color – they mix chemicals on site.

Oh that tumbler was just a baby, for color testing and sample runs. No. This is a tumbler:

Look at the people to get a sense of scale

The dyed leather comes off the line

Post Processing

There’s a myriad of leather post processing steps depending on the finished product.

You can turn a cow into a crocodile:

This is done by melting a plastic sheet into the leather.

You can embed thermal-color change wax:

Bright pink dyed and super soft suede:

Waterproofed:

Testing

A really cool section was the testing facilities. This ensures the quality of the finished product.

There are machines that can test the rigidity, flexibility, waterproofness, etc.

Water Purification

Leather is notorious for pollution. At PrimeAsia, they have a big and fancy water purification plant on-site.

We start our tour from the control panel

Water starts out a bit frothy (I believe it’s a bacterial processing phase)

Water is cleaner!

Clean water comes out here.

Trivia

Leather is cheaper than I thought. It was maybe $100 for a whole pelt.

There’s no natural leather color. After chrome tanning, all leather is blue-gray.

© 2017 Jeremy Rubin. All rights reserved.