Monday, 08 Dec 2008
Problems with Mould?
An invaluable half-day Mould Workshop will be held in Hong Kong on January 21. If you’re experiencing problems with mould, problems that cut into already small profit margins, then this event is well worth attending.
The event is organised by APLF and conducted by the Leather Technology Centre (BLC) from the UK.
Help is on the way!
Experiencing problems with mould? You are not alone. With the increase in manufacturing in the East, the storage and shipping of leather and leather products is often adversely affected by the high temperatures and humidity - conditions perfect for mould infection.
The recent scare over fungicides associated with leather furniture has also heightened anxiety in the marketplace over the safe use of fungicides, which is likely to contribute to a worsening of the mould problem.
The mould problem
Moulds are a type of fungus that spread by releasing millions of tiny spores into the air. They need moisture to grow and are usually found in damp, poorly ventilated areas. It is not possible to see mould spores with the naked eye, but it is often possible to see evidence of mould presence (which can be grey, green or black in colour), growing on damp surfaces.
All mould needs a food source in order to grow. This must be organic matter of some type. People are often confused as mould can grow on glass, tiles, stainless steel, cookware etc, but on closer examination it is generally found to be feeding off an organic source deposited on the surface.
Although mould growth is a common occurrence within a wide range of products, leather and textile goods are especially prone to it. Most mould will thrive in moist, warm conditions where there is little movement of air. Unlike many synthetic fabrics, leather will readily equilibrate to the moisture content of the surrounding atmosphere. In some countries this can exceed 90% relative humidity.
Mould is not only a problem on wet part-processed leather. With the increasing manufacture of leather products in hot and humid countries there are more finished leather items becoming mouldy in transit. The moisture of leather when at equilibrium with the atmosphere will depend on many factors such as the type of tannage and protein content etc. However, the moisture uptake by typical leather from the atmosphere increases significantly above 65% relative humidity.
Goods are shipped by sea and can take up to eight weeks to arrive at their destination including transportation from the factory to the docks. Often with product storage and stock building these storage and shipping times can be doubled. The goods are shipped in metal containers that are often dirty, rusty and damp. The conditions during shipping can cycle between hot and cold temperatures creating evaporation and condensation conditions. This provides an ideal micro climate for mould growth.
Various options are available to try and prevent the occurrence of mould on leather and its products. These are summarised below.
The correct use of fungicides
Best practice in terms of housekeeping and sterilisation
Appropriate conditions for the storage of materials and products
Good compatibility of materials
Effective quality control and inspection processes
Appropriate packaging and shipping
Mould growth on leather and leather products is a significant issue but is preventable.
BLC can offer a range of services to deal with mould problems including:
mould challenge testing
mould remediation advice
support with factory audits to establish best practice in terms of mould management
advice on storage, packaging and shipping to reduce the risk of mould growth and contamination
mould workshops - providing an understanding of mould causes, prevention as well as help and support available
Interest in the first Mould Workshop, held on 2 December, was overwhelming: so much so that a second event is scheduled (below):
NEXT TRAINING COURSE ON MOULD
The next half day Mould Workshop will be held in Hong Kong on 21 January 2009. For further details contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
for further details please contact:
17/F China Resources Building
26 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel : (852) 2827 6211 Fax : (852) 2827 7831