2011 IULTCS Merit Award winner announced

20 April 2011

The Executive Committee of the IULTCS announced on April 20, the 2011 winner of the ‘IULTCS Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry’. The winner of this prestigious award is a chemical engineer and leather scientist - Antoni Ylla-Catalá of Spain. He is also a practical tanner and curator of tanning tradition in Spain. Ylla-Catalá spent many years working in tanneries and has much industry experience, but he did find time during his career to publish a number of books and articles related to leather manufacturing. He has also contributed widely to the professional activities of the industry.

Over the last 43 years Mr. Ylla-Catalá has occupied positions as Technical Director of several important Spanish tanneries - Colomer Munmany and Ernesto Baumann among them. As Director of the IULTCS Nomenclature Committee he contributed to the publication of the International Dictionary of Leather Terminology. This is an essential tool for communication in the global industry. He has been President of AQEIC and is currently President of the Osona Tanners Association. He has collaborated with the IULTCS and AQEIC in the organisation of several Congresses and Symposiums. During the XXI IULTCS Congress held in Barcelona in 1991 he hosted the event as President of AQEIC. For many years he was member of the IUP technical committee for fastness test methods.

Ylla-Catalá’s studies on sheepskin beamhouse operations have had a great impact on the de-woolling process and fellmongering techniques in Spain and this has contributed to the well known quality of Spanish sheepskin articles such as nappa, velour, and doubleface. His work on sulphide oxidation has made feasible the biological treatment of effluents from ovine tanneries and these techniques have been widely adopted.

Ylla-Catalá follows Dr Robert Sykes and Professor Tony Covington who were the first winners of this biannual award. The award was established in 2004 and is the highest recognition of excellence made by the IULTCS. It has been called ‘the Nobel Prize for leather’. Dr. Campbell Page who is secretary of IULTCS stated that four exceptional nominees were put forward for consideration this year and in a tightly contested race a second vote was required to identify the winner. ‘We wish we could confer two awards’, he said. Joan Carles Castell, who is Chair of the IUC testing commission added, ‘It is appropriate that this year’s award recognises the importance that applied technology plays along with basic science to solve industrial problems. And we are of course delighted that a Spanish winner will be celebrated during the 31st IULTCS Congress in Valencia later this year”.

You can learn more about the IULTCS and the Merit Award at the website: www.iultcs.org

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