20 December 2021

Wet blue and crust manufacturer KT Trading and bio-yarn producer Spinnova have announced that they now have a pilot production line in place and are ready to begin start-up phase production of Respin, writes Leatherbiz.

The two partners announced they were setting up Respin in May and promised they would begin pilot-scale production of the new material before the end of 2021. They announced on December 17 that they had achieved this.

Spinnova’s facilities in Jyväskylä, Finland, will house the Respin pilot production line. The partners said it would allow them to produce enough leather fibre for research and development purposes.

Respin uses wet blue shavings from tanneries to produce a renewable yarn that can be woven or knitted into fabric for clothes, bags, shoes and other applications. Demo products, made from Respin, will also emerge as part of the pilot.

This pilot phase is likely to last one year and will involve the Respin partners, plus KT Trading’s long-term customer, Ecco Leather. After that, the joint-venture partners will welcome other brands to be part of the commercial phase of Respin.

According to the companies involved, Respin presents a number of positive characteristics. It is made from a renewable raw material, involves zero use of harmful chemicals and minimal water use. The fibre feels like a textile fibre, they have said, combining the natural durability and elasticity of leather and the lightweight properties and feel of traditional textiles. They believe they are the only producers in the world to be able to convert leather waste into textile fibre without using harmful chemicals.

Commenting on the completion of the pilot production line, KT Trading chief executive, Kristian Geert-Jensen, said: “We have a joint mission to explore new ways to upcycle our waste material. Respin is an excellent example of how far we can go when we work together across industries. We’re delighted to take the next steps in this project.”

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