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Reducing Tanning Chemicals Using Hide SortationReducing Tanning Chemicals Using Hide Sortation


Many operations that slaughter animals also harvest their hides to be tanned for leather in apparel, car upholstery, furniture, etc. Before hides can be used in other industries, they must be treated with chemicals. Hides present themselves in many different variations. If they aren’t sorted properly, processors can ruin hides by over-treating with chemical.

For this reason, a good sorting system ensures the to-be-treated hides will receive the right amount of chemicals.

Hide Sorting Monorail Scale

Hide Sorting Monorail Scale

One of the first steps after an animal has been skinned and the hide has been washed is a green grade station. Here, an employee performs a physical inspection to check the hide for holes and tears while also identifying the type of hide based off of the brand.

The three typical types are:

Native: This particular type of cattle has no brand and is the most valuable. A brand on the hide causes that portion of it to be unusable, so this hide is best used for larger products.

Butt: Next most valuable; any beef animal that has a brand within 18 inches of the hind end. This hide can still mostly be used but the lower portion cannot. Leaves roughly 2/3 of the hide although misses out on the toughest portion of leather from the rear.

Colorado (“Collie”): The least valuable portion; any animal not covered by the other categories. Becomes much harder and less profitable to use because the leather is smaller and of lesser quality.

The hide grader can be set up with a touchscreen or simple button interface to input the appropriate info.

carcass grading using a touchscreen HMI

Operator Grading System Using a Touchscreen HMI

After leaving the station, the hides go to scales and then are deposited into an appropriate location based off of the weight range and type of that hide. Our software can take this data and form trends, for example, to tell you what types of hides are coming in and how closely they fit ideal weight parameters.

The sorting drops each category into separate bins which are then dumped into vats of tanning chemicals to be treated.

Over-treating can cost a lot of money and ruin thinner hides so it is important to split the hides up into the right categories, so the process can be tailored to fit each one.

If chemical costs are too high in your hide operation, we can set you up with grading and sorting systems to give you the level of control that you need to optimize the operation.

Contact us at 712-722-1181 to learn more!