Opening and VGCT Annual Award
There was great joy at the reunion with colleagues and friends from the industry. And so Dr Dietrich Tegtmeyer (TFL Ledertechnik GmbH, Cologne) and Prof Dr Haiko Schulz (FILK Freiberg Institute gGmbH) opened the 10th Freiberg Leather Days on 11 May 2022. As usual, the conference began with the awarding of the VGCT Annual Prize, which this year went to PD Dr Michael Meyer. In the course of his professional career, the Scientific Director of the FILK Freiberg Institute has devoted himself in particular to collagen and leather research and ensured that applied industrial research for the sector continues to exist in Germany. Furthermore, the award was given in recognition of his high level of commitment to the IULTCS, whose research committee he has chaired for many years and in the organisation and implementation of the XXXV IULTCS International Congress in 2019 in Dresden.
With 18 lectures, 6 speakers were connected online, the technical programme offered a varied mixture of scientific and technical lectures again this year. The central topic, as in all economic and social areas, was sustainability in the tanning and leather industry. A lot has happened here in recent years. The industry is making great efforts to make processes and products even more sustainable. At the same time, a lot of energy is being invested in establishing methods for life cycle assessment, for determining the biological content and biodegradability or for preparing ecobalances. Resource efficiency and more environmentally friendly tanning processes were also topics.
10 years of Freiberg Leather Days and 2 female colleagues
One item on the programme on Day 1 was the review of 10 years of the Freiberg Leather Days, which was launched in 2012 for the first time. In the course of this, Carmen Frieauff (BG RCI) and Manuela Kallauch (FILK Freiberg Institute) received a big thank you for their commitment to the VGCT. For many years, they have been taking care of the membership administration, member communication and the finances of the association.
VGCT General Assembly
At the beginning of the VGCT General Assembly, we commemorated Martin Heise, a colleague who passed away in December 2021. Last year he was still sitting on the podium. With him, the industry has lost an absolute expert and many also a friend.
After the formal votes on the discharge of the board for 2021 and on the membership fee regulations, Dr. Kerstin Schulte (Prüf- und Forschungsinstitut Pirmasens e.V.) was elected vice-chair of the VGCT. With Dr. Benjamin Autenrieth (Trumpler GmbH & Co. KG, Worms) and Mr. Yannick Strebost (Heller-Leder GmbH & Co. KG), two new members were elected to the board who will support the association's work in the future.
Marc Lahnstein, Andreas Meyer, Gert Tombült and Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer were re-elected to the Board. Thomas Frosch did not stand for re-election to the Board.
Dr. Jochen Ammen (Stahl Chemicals Germany GmbH) and Dr. Sascha Dietrich (FILK Freiberg Institute) took the opportunity to update members on their work in the "Leather Auxiliaries" and "Leather Testing and Evaluation" Commissions over the past two years.
In the evening
In the evening, things got heated. The joint dinner at the Pentagon Chemnitz turned into a sweaty affair. Under a glass dome in summery temperatures and failed air conditioning, many participants felt reminded of the Leather Days trip to Oisterwijk (Netherlands) in 2017, when they sweated in an empty factory hall for 2 days in unusually high temperatures. At that time, a record amount of solar power was said to have been produced in Holland.
Until the 11th Freiberg Leather Days on 28 and 29 June 2023
Preparations for the 11th Leather Days are already underway. The organisers are looking forward to welcoming their guests on 28 and 29 June 2023. Where - in the meantime - remains to be seen. They would like to meet again in Freiberg after 5 years.
Finally it's starting again
When they parted in June 2019 after the 8th Freiberger Ledertage in Dresden, probably none of the participants had guessed that it would take almost 3 years until they would meet again at the European meeting of the tanning and leather industry. After cancellation in 2020 and a digital edition in 2021, the time finally came. The organisers, VGCT e.V. and FILK Freiberg Institute gGmbH, were delighted to welcome 72 participants on site at the Carlowitz Center in Chemnitz. Another 57 chose the option of participating on their home screens. A total of 15 nations were represented.