8th Freiberg Leather Days, 27. / 28.06.2019

XXXV IULTCS International Congress, 25-28 June 2019, in Dresden / Germany

For almost three years, the members of the organisation committee around Congress President, Dr Dietrich Tegtmeyer, from the hosting society, VGCT, have been devoting a good share of their time to organise the world leading congress of the global leather and tanning community.

Now it´s history and you and your fellow participants, presenters and supporters of the XXXV IULTCS International Congress have returned to their home countries, locations and offices.

With nearly 460 participants from 33 countries and altogether 55 oral, 14 speed and 89 poster presentations, an industry exhibition of 39 enterprises, numerous IULTCS/VGCT commission meetings and space for professional and cultural exchange, the congress can be called a success. With this, we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for generous support, numerously participation and valuable contributions.


The 8th Freiberg Leather Days took place as part of the XXXV IULTCS World Congress on June 27 and 28, 2019 (Day 3 and Day 4).

Day One - Tuesday 25th of June 2019

Day One - Tuesday 25th of June 2019

Solemn but also entertaining the congress started with the Opening Ceremony on the eve the scientific programme. About 300 guests watched the ceremonial handover of the IULTCS flag from Thomas Yu, current IULTCS President, to Dietrich Tegtmeyer, Congress President, who then together raised the flag as sign of the Congress Opening. This formal procedure was accompanied by the Dresden Young Symphony Orchestra of the Heinrich-Schütz-Konservatorium, Dresden, under the direction of Professor Milko Kersten. About 50 excellent young musicians showed their talent when playing the IULTCS anthem: “Air” from Friedrich Handle's Water Music Suite No. 1 in F major, much applauded by the audience.


Welcoming addresses of Thomas Yu and Dietrich Tegtmeyer introduced to the general purpose of the congress and the congress theme “Benign by Design”. Dr Beate Haaser, Vice President of the host society VGCT, welcomed her guest in Dresden/Germany before introducing Maria Strohe, Saxon State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport, and Eva Jähnigen, Mayor of the City of Dresden for Environment and Municipal Economies, who welcomed our guests warmly and delivered interesting facts and figures on the economic and scientific location of the State of Saxony and the Capital City of Dresden. Dr Luis Zugno, Vice President of IULTCS and Dr Michael Meyer, Chair if IUR commission, announced the recipient of the YLS (Young Leather Scientist) Basic Grant and the recipient of YLS Sustainability Grant: Cathrine Ann Maidment and Shahruk Nur-A-Tomal

The Opening Ceremony grew emotional when Thomas Yu asked Jakov Buljan on stage to receive the IULTCS Merit Award for Excellence in the Leather Industry. The IULTCS Merit Award is given biennially by the IULTCS Executive to an individual, whose past or current endeavours have had an extraordinary impact on our industry and provide an example for others to follow. Jakov Buljan fits this profile perfectly. With his Words of Acceptance he gave some thoughtful but also inspiring insights of his work life and an evocing message to the leather and tanning industry.

The official Opening Ceremony merged then into a Welcoming Reception on Terrace Level of the Dresden International Congress Center for an informal get together to explore the venue and meet fellow participants. August the strong, former Duke of Saxon and King of Poland, together with his mistress Countess Cosel, entertained the participants at their tables with gossip and chatter from baroque Dresden. The warm summer temperatures invited also to stroll outside at the terrace and to take in the view of the historic city centre of Dresden.

Day Two - Wednesday 26th of June 2019

Day Two - Wednesday 26th of June 2019

Traditionally, the scientific lecture programme is opened with the Heidemann Lecture, a key note presentation preferably on a topic related to fundamental collagen research. The Heidemann Lecture is held in memory of Professor Dr Eckhardt Heidemann (1925-1999), who made significant practical contributions to the science of leather manufacture and he held a lifelong interest in the structure and properties of the collagen molecule. It is typical for the Host Society to invite a high profile guest lecturer this. For the XXXV IULTCS Congress the host society choose:

Professor Kheng Lim Goh

Research leader of the “Advanced Composite Research Group” at the Newcastle University in Singapore and Newcastle Research and Innovation Institute Singapore (NewRIIS) and associated Professor to these institutions.


With his presentation titled “As tough as leather: Macro to nano scale perspectives of collagen stability” he discussed findings related to the higher-order assemblies. The conventional understanding of the collagenous fibre-like structures—embedded in a hydrated ground substance—in connective tissue finds an analogy to engineering fibres reinforcing composite materials such as carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites. He also gave a fresh look at the degree of collagen fibril alignment in tissue and impetus to rethinking the mechanics of cross-linking between fibrils.

In the course of day two participants were presented with an intensive lecture programme. Altogether 2 key notes, 14 oral presentations and 5 speed science presentations were on stage. Several presentations during the day centred around the use of biobased materials for production of leather and leather chemicals. Substituting fossil fuel based raw materials in leather chemistry, this is seen as an important mega-trend within the industry and all of the major global leather chemical producers are now looking to develop new ranges of products which have a lower environmental impact and improve the product life cycle performance of leather.

After the substantial lecture programme, the participants awaited the Elbe River Cruise Night, which took them up-stream along the Elbe River valley with vineyards, several castles and exclusive residential areas. Heading back into Dresden at sunset, a magnificent view of the historical silhouette of Dresden was offered to the participants. The boat trip was much enjoyed after a long and intensive day.

Day Three - Thursday 27th of June 2019

Day Three - Thursday 27th of June 2019

The Freiberg Leather Days participants joined in on Thursday morning. Now at full strength nearly 460 scientist and technicians from the leather and tanning industry went into the lecture programme, which was run in parallel sessions during morning. With the main hall focussing on engineering and leather making machinery where a number of topics were presented around automation, fault detection, splitting and shaving, and in-line colour measurement, looking at the more practical aspects of machinery and the latest advances in Industry 4.0-led technology and automation.


The other session took place in an adjacent seminar room and continued to look at the scientific aspects of leather and collagen research. Focus of the presentation have been new methods of characterisation, interpretation of structure-property relations and new analysis methods and assessment of results.

After lunch, the two groups joined together in a common session before the end of lecture programme of day three. Altogether 14 oral presentation including 1 key note, 10 presentations within the engineering session and 10 speed presentations have been delivered during the lecture programme that was followed by the IULTCS delegates meeting and VGCT general meeting.

Traditionally scheduled on the eve of the last congress day, the common dinner was set for Thursday The common dinner night usually is the highlight of the congress´ side programme and was set at the Congress Centre´s Great Hall. It provided a special ambience for a classy dinner night with international cooking, life music entertainment and time to socialise with friends, experts and professionals from around the globe: A night of celebrating. Surprise of the night were two magicians with their close-up magic show at the dinner tables amazing the audience with quick fingers and inscrutable tricks.

In the frame of the dinner night, the host society, VGCT, used the opportunity to honour this year´s Annual Awardee, Dr Volker Schröder of TEGEWA, and the Promotional Awardee and best apprentice in 2019, Felix Wengenroth of Lanxess. This was followed by an Appreciation Ceremony that was to appreciate all business partners and donators of the 2019 IULTCS Congress for their great support and encouragement. A representative of each enterprise was asked on stage to receive a Trophy of Appreciation and a Certificate.

Day 4 – Friday 28th of June 2019

Day 4 – Friday 28th of June 2019

The last congress day provided further lectures on innovative approaches for sustainable leather auxiliaries or improving leather properties such as water resistance of leather or lowering emissions from leather. Altogether two key notes and 9 oral presentations have been brought to the audience.


The after lunch session held a lecture on the next level of sustainability, a circular approach of a no waste strategy. This was followed by a very practical example of “Zirkeltraining”, a brand that up-cycles covering materials of old sports gear such as sports mats and pommel horses into unique bags, pieces of luggage or storage container. The lecture programme was concluded by Leather Naturally!, an NGO devoted to campaign the image of leather.

A short lunch break was followed by the closing ceremony. First, Prof Dr Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, Executive Director of the African Leather and Leather Products Institute (ALLPI) and COMESA, was given the word. He and his team will be the host of the XXXVI IULTCS International Congress, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 20-23 in 2021. He took the opportunity to introduce the audience to the hosting country and the African leather industry with a tempting video that made fancy for more.

Mr Chen Zhanguang of China Leather Industry Association (CLIA) was asked on stage to introduced the 2023 congress which will be held in China.

This was followed by an appreciation note to the Organising Committee and the closing remarks before Thomas Yu and Dr Dietrich Tegtmeyer took down the IULTCS banner and handed it over to Professor Mwinyikione Mwinyihija thus officially declaring XXXV IULTCS International Congress closed.

We cordially thank again all our business partners, supporters, donators, participants and presenters as well as the Saxon State Parliament and the Saxony Development Bureau for strong support and encouragement. It was an honour to be host of an event of this importance and dimension. We enjoyed having the world family of the leather and tanning industry as guest here with us in Dresden!

Good bye and all the best to all our guests!


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