BASF open technical centre in Arzignano13 December 2001
The performance chemicals division of BASF, which includes leather chemicals, underlined their commitment to the industry by officially opening a technical service centre for leather in Arzignano, northern Italy. Customers, suppliers, BASF staff and other guests attended the opening ceremony on November 5. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hartwig Michels, group vice president, performance chemicals - leather, stressed the importance of BASF acting as a partner to customers, providing technical solutions to tanners, and not simply supplying leather chemicals. 'Environmental and toxicological requirements are going to increase further and globalisation will be more important in the leather industry. If this is how you see the situation too, and you are looking for a partner, we are ready', he told guests during the inauguration. The new technical centre is located in the heart of the Arzignano tanning region and has been chosen by BASF due to its proximity to a number of tanneries, particularly those which process furniture and automotive upholstery leathers. 'The main activity of the new centre is to serve the important local Italian leather industry. The centre will also act as the focus of BASF's worldwide upholstery leather activities', said Natale Bungaro, sales director of performance chemicals for leather, Italy. The Euro6 million (US$5 million) investment is the latest in BASF's network of technical centres around the world. As well as product and application development, the centre will allow local and overseas tannery technicians to develop recipes with BASF and provide practical training for BASF staff and customers. The centre includes the latest machinery, mainly supplied by the Poletto Group, and much of the equipment for finishing applications is able to operate on full hides, allowing BASF to develop their technology on a commercial tannery scale. However, machinery is also available for the development of smaller skins and side leather for local garment and shoe upper tanners. 'The new technical service centre will allow BASF technicians to develop our products and finishing applications with tanners to provide local solutions, particularly in the upholstery sector, as with all of our network of technical centres around the world. The need to synthesise new molecules and polymers will continue to be carried out at Ludwigshafen in Germany', says Dr Stefan Marcinowski, member of the board of executive directors and research executive director of BASF. 'At BASF, we are able to overlap technology and skills under our 'Verbund' (meaning integrated network) system and will we use the Verbund philosophy to develop new technologies for the leather sector', he added. Following the speeches, the official ribbon cutting ceremony was performed by Gianfranco Signorin, mayor of Arzignano with Dr Stefan Marcinowski. Visitors were then invited to visit the new facilities. The building covers a surface area of 5,000m² and includes a chemical storage warehouse (2,000m²), laboratories (1,700m²), a production unit (900m²) and offices (400m²). The centre will employ 25 people and will include a laboratory for wet-end chemical development, a finishing pilot plant and a chemical and physical testing laboratory.