Process optimisation and performance improvements are no longer optional in the leather processing industries, such as the automotive or furniture industries, but an absolute must. The key to being competitive is automation and digitisation. According to Lectra, there is enormous potential for automation in leather cutting in particular, where outdated, analogue die press processes are still widespread (85-90%). Experts believe that upgrading to CNC cutting solutions will be faster than fabric cutting within a maximum of ten years.

To remain competitive in the future, leather processing must be integrated into the digital processes from CAD design and virtual prototyping to the assembly of the component. Automatic cutting is faster and more flexible. Predictive Maintenance is one of the key innovations of Industry 4.0, enabling machine availability of over 98%. 

Other drivers of digitisation are consumers: The Millennials (“Internet Generation”) will not only shape consumption over the next 20 years, but also change our added value. This generation demands quality, product personalisation and fast delivery times. In the automotive industry, trends such as autonomous driving and car sharing are also influencing leather processing. These topics and more will presented by Lectra during the conference in Stuttgart.

When and where will it take place?

The half-day (afternoon) conference will take place at the 5-star, Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin luxury hotel in the centre of the city on Monday, June 4. The reason for this date and this location is to ally the conference with the Automotive Interiors Show which is taking place in the city in the same week, June 5-8 at the Stuttgart Messe. The idea is to allow attendees of the ILM conference an opportunity to visit the interiors show also on the same trip and maximise time away from the office or factory.

Speakers will include representatives from the whole automotive leather supply chain including leading tanners, tier suppliers and OEMs. There will also be opportunities for networking.

The conference is aimed at anyone connected with the global automotive leather supply chain from hide/skin suppliers, chemicals and machinery suppliers, research and academic institutes, traders, tanners, tier-1 suppliers and automotive OEMs.

All presentations will be in English. The conference is lead sponsored by global leather chemical makers, Stahl, Zschimmer & Schwarz and Lectra. It is also sponsored by JBS Couros and Erretre/Fratelli Carlessi and supported by Zünd and the raw materials pricing and analysis website,

Announcements on further speakers and topics will be announced on this website in the coming weeks. Confirmed speakers and topics so far:

  • Daimler AG – Update on the DRIVE Sustainability initiative. Speaker TBC.
  • Lectra – Customer Focus and Operational Excellence in the Age of Industry 4.0, Holger Max-Lang, Managing Director for Central & Eastern Europe, Russia.
  • JBS Couros – Sustainability throughout the leather supply chain, Fernando Bellese, Marketing and Sustainability Manager. 
  • Erretre/Fratelli Carlessi – Speaker and topic TBC.
  • Stahl – Speaker and topic TBC.

To register to attend this event click here and follow the link to the registration page, or email Maria Wallace,