Gmelich leather - Leather of exceeding quality!

Gmelich Leder - our production

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Gmelich leather - leather of exceeding quality  
tour of our production
leather care


Gmelich + Söhne GmbH
Kreuzstr. 65
D-71723 Grossbottwar


Time is an important factor in the making of leather. Only a sequence of many elaborate production steps can lead to high quality leather.
A lot has changed from when we started manufacturing leather in 1923. However, not even the most sophisticated production equipment will turn out a quality piece of leather automatically. The latest, high-tech machinery combined with the know-how and experience of seasoned leather experts is the necessary ingredients for a high quality product. After more than 80 years we have seen a lot of changes in technology. We have taken advantage of it but we have not changed our standards:

The selection of raw material has to be right on
We are sourcing the best raw materials in the world from select suppliers of heavy cattle hides in Germany and Austria.

Step number one: The Soaking Process
Softening of the hide structure and cleansing process.

The Liming Process: The Hide Sheds its Hair
Lime and sulfur remove the hair and further soften the hide's fibers.
Removing of flesh and hair
Consequently remaining flesh and fat are removed from the inner layer of the hides by fleshing machines.
From One Make Two: The Splitting Process
The hide is split into two layers. The outside layer, where the hair used to be, will be made to grain leather. The inside layer, also called split hide, will be turned into sueded leather or insole leather.
Cleaning and tanning transforms the hide to leather
Deliming, bating and pickling neutralize the lye from the liming process and prepare the hide for tanning. Then the hides are washed and soured.

Exposure to the tanning agents of mineral salts cures the hide's proteins, preserving it and transforming it to leather.
During tanning with chrom 3 the leather gets a blue shade, therefore this is also called Wetblue.
A Matter of Substance
The sammying process mechanically squeezes excess liquids from the leather to ready it for the shaving process. The lower surface of the grain hide is shaved to adjust the leather to the desired thickness or substance.
Leather Shows Its True Colors
Next the leather is processed in oak drums with aniline dyes and fat liquors to set the specified color, hand, and softness among other characteristic features.
Dry and Temperature Controlled Storage are not only Essential for Good Wine
Following the dyeing process remaining liquids are removed from the leather hides. The leather is stretched on a toggle frame for air-drying. The control of the quality is next in line.
Staking, embossing, sanding, dry tumbling are still in store for our hides
Depending on the final article the leather is softened by staking, optically enhanced by embossing, surface sanded for nubuk effects, and finally dry tumbled or milled in rotating drums for softness.
The Finish - Viewed from the Surface
Finishing is a collective term for all production steps involved to fine-tune the leather's surface. Base coating applies color pigments to the leather's surface for even coloration. This may be done by printing or spraying machines. A final clear coat protects the leather from soiling and prevents the color from bleeding. According to product specifications sealants, stain and oil repellent treatments and waxes are applied to the leather. All that provides - along with surface protection - the desired leather look, hand and feel.
Last but not Least: Quality Control
Throughout all production steps the leather is subject to the scrutiny of our quality assurance. Each step is thoroughly documented. The finished hides are measured electronically and are subject to a final grading process.

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