Tanning – A multi-step process at the core of leather production

Leather tanning is the process of modifying animal skins through physical and chemical means to turn hides into leather. Initially developed as a manual and traditional process, leather tanning has eventually evolved into large scale industrial operations, constantly focusing on improving productivity, quality of the finished product and environmental performance. Numerous chemicals are used throughout the different stages of the process, including several inorganic salts produced by BASF.

Examples of applications include:

Ammonium Bicarbonate

  • Pre-dyeing treatment of leather

Ammonium Chloride and Ammonium Sulfate

  • Deliming / buffering process

Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Sulfite and Sodium Bisulfite

  • Deliming process, bleaching and emission control of by-product gases

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Inorganics for leather treatment

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Product Packaging Shelf Life
Appearance Attributes SDS TDS Share
Ammonium Bicarbonate
O Food Grade 22.68 KG 12 Fine, white crystals with a slight smell of ammonia; tend to cake

Untreated grade without anti-caking agent

NH4HCO3 content min. 99.9

Ammonium Chloride
NA Grade 1000 KG, 25 KG 24 White, fine crystalline powder

Technical grade with anti-caking up to 0.05

NH4Cl content min. 99.7

Sodium Sulfite
Technical Grade 1000 KG, 25 KG 24 White or slightly yellowish, odorless, fine crystalline powder

Reducing and bleaching agent

Na2SO3 content min 97.5

Sodium Metabisulfite
Technical Grade 1000 KG & 1250, 25 KG 24 White or slightly yellowish, fine crystalline powder, with an odor of SO2

Low level of impurity and consistency

Na2S2O5 content 97.2 – 100.5

Sodium Bisulfite
38-40% solution Only available in Europe 12 Yellowish solution, with an odor of SO

Byproduct from the production process of sodium sulfite and sodium metabisulfite

NaHSO3 content 37.5 - 40.5


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