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Textile, Leather and Tanning Chemicals

Industry Overview:

The use of chemicals influences every aspect of leather and textile production. For textiles, it begins with the production of fibers, from herbicides and fertilizer used to grow healthy cotton to the processes that convert petroleum-based feedstocks into polyester fibers. Spinning oils supplement the yarn production process, and sizing chemicals strengthen this yarn to protect it while it is woven into fabric. Fabrics are chemically pretreated to purify them for dyeing and printing chemicals. Finally, chemicals are used in finishing, to imbue them with various properties like water-repellence, anti-wrinkling, and softening.

Preparing, tanning, crusting, and surface coating leather for commercial use is a complicated process which can take two weeks for a single batch. Chemicals are used in every stage of this process. Alkali liming solutions to remove Keratin and interfibrillary proteins during prepatory processes, and most tanning is accomplished with chromium(III) sulfate (or chrome – yes, just like the metal plating). Filling chemicals added during crusting makes leather harder and heavier, and impregnation agents applied during finishing can make the leather more water-repellent.

Common Applications:

  • Raw materials – animal, plant, mineral, etc.
  • Textiles – technical, medical, etc.
  • Manufacturing – weaving, knitting, etc.
  • Production – preparation, tanning, crusting, finishing, etc.
  • Treatments – dyes, chemical processes, agents, etc.
  • Forms – full-grain, top-grain, split, etc.
  • Tanning –vegetable, chrome, etc.
  • Enyzymes
  • Preservation Alternatives – pseudo-leather, etc.
  • Skinning, deliming, pickling, etc.
  • Curing – various methods
  • Tawing
  • Chromium
  • Chemical waste, disposal
  • Workplace safety
  • Leather, tanning, and textile intermediates


With almost 35 years as a top chemical industry recruitment agency, Ropella is well-versed in the challenges companies face in their search to find highly qualified professionals. As talent acquisition specialists, we excel at attracting, recruiting and building relationships with potential candidates. Our executive search consultants stay abreast of current industry trends making Ropella a knowledgeable, efficient and effective partner for recruiting top chemical talent.

A proven executive search firm, Ropella is dedicated to helping companies gain a competitive advantage by providing customized and strategic talent solutions. We leverage our industry expertise, proprietary smart search system and global network to deliver exceptional results quickly for even the most challenging searches. Successful industry leaders count on Ropella to find the right talent to drive their business forward.

Look for our articles in Textile Insight and other industry publications..


The typical positions, roles and/or functions our search consultants serve include:

Sales (such as; new business development, key account management, technical service, customer service, branch, district, region, national, global in scope).
Marketing (such as market research, market analyst, consumer research, public relations, social media, communications, product management).
Manufacturing (such as operations, production, engineering, plant design, process development, pilot plant, scale up).
Research & Development (such as exploratory research, discovery research, synthesis, analytical, applications development, new product development, formulations, compounding, quality control, environmental, regulatory, health and safety).
Administration (such as procurement, supply chain, logistics, human resources).
Business Management (such as general management, executive, manager, director, vice president, c-suite and board member, commercial development, merger, acquisition, joint venture).
Venture Capital / Private Equity (such as administration and finance, commercial development, executive level management, human resources, mfg., marketing, r&d, sales)
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Industry Brochure

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