Stahl extends Waalwijk leather centre of excellence
Stahl's extensive Leather Technology Centre, which was opened in Waalwijk in 1992, has recently been the subject of a major extension and makeover which was opened by Huub van Beijeren, CEO of Stahl Holdings bv, at a celebration held on 25th September 2008.
The € 1 million plus investment is designed to keep the company at the forefront of the automotive leather finishing sector and demonstrates a high level of commitment to customers towards maintaining a high market share in the development of high performance leathers for automotive upholstery.
Customers involved in the production of automotive leather were invited to the opening ceremony which took place during the afternoon, followed by an opportunity to walk around the laboratory, inspect the newly installed equipment and meet and talk to the laboratory staff. In the evening the party moved to one of Waalwijk's leading restaurants for a celebratory dinner.
Back in 1992 the construction of the Leather Centre of Excellence coincided with the introduction of the first widely successful water-based finishes that had been developed around a new range of innovative products by a highly skilled and dedicated sales and applications team.
A similar picture has emerged at the present time as Stahl's highly respected automotive leather finishing products move into a higher gear, thanks to the efforts of a small and dedicated team working under the guidance of Mike Tomkin, Sales and Marketing Director Automotive Leather Finish, and, since his appointment eight months ago, Hans Boots, Group Business Director Leather Finish Division.
The result is an impressive 330 m² extension with a free height of 4.2 m, sufficient to accommodate the large machinery needed to simulate the production equipment installed in a modern automotive leather tannery. The new machinery includes a Gemata roller coater and spray line fitted with both gas and infra-red drying facilities, as well as in-line crosslinking and a foam generator. There is also a rotary press in the new hall.
The afternoon featured a number of presentations and working demonstrations. A couple of representatives from Gemata were demonstrating the roller coating machine. Elsewhere in the laboratory, Stahl's own staff were giving presentations and demonstrations on interesting subjects including Anti-soiling, Reach, Anti-squeak, and training programmes available to customer technicians.
As part of the work associated with the extension, a colour room, equipped with a spray booth, a light cabin and other smaller items, has been installed within part of the earlier laboratory space. This provides invaluable additional facilities and support to the staff working with pigments and dyes.
Although the new extension is primarily dedicated to work associated with the high performance finishing of automotive leather, there will be a spin-off for all other leather finishing sectors. Knowledge gained in working in the automotive field will be of value to all other sectors and Stahl is in the ideal position for transferring this knowledge and experience to the benefit of the whole of the leather industry.
Stahl Holdings bv