A couple of years ago, a very good friend and leather goods manufacturer, introduced us to the managing director of a prestigious 3D lab located very near where our office is based. Right after this visit, quite a few ideas of how 3D Printing Technology could be applied to the leather goods manufacturing industry came to our mind.

These applications may be:

  • – Rapid hardware design where designs can be proved and perfected.
  • – Advanced prototyping of cases for electronic devices
  • – Development of new and innovative reinforcements, especially where the final shape is hard to get with the traditional materials used as reinforcements.

This technology (3D design – render) is also used in order to see the actual shape, measurements and overall look of a particular piece before moving to the physical making of the prototype.

Betangible_3D-Printing-Technology-and-leather-goods-manufacturing betangible-3D-Printing-Technology-and-leather-goods-manufacturing--render-3d-prototype-example



Not long ago, we started a collaboration with local supplier Pileus. Two young entrepeneurs, Alberto Moreno and Juan Manuel Rodríguez, who especialise in printing on almost all surfaces and, of course, on leather too. Printing on leather can be one of the easiest ways of customising and differentiating your collection from the rest. If you do not believe it, please see the photos below. We recently interviewed them for our blog.

Pileus - Leather Printers


Betangible: Why did you decide to start a business like this?

Pileus: We both have experience in visual communication and decided to put our experience in our own business. We wanted to offer the leather goods industry in Spain  something new. We really like the idea of mixing tradition and the latest technology and we think that we are providing Spanish Leather Goods Manufacturers with a touch of 21st Century technology.


Betangible: Are you also offering this service internationally?

Pileus: Yes. Several international brands that are producing in this area are hiring our services. We are supplying the printed leather to the local leather goods manufacturers.

But it is not only leather, we are also printing on wood, canvas and other fabrics, raffia, PU materials, and many other surfaces… 


Betangible: What types of prints and finish can we get on leather? 

Pileus: Well, the choice isl amost infinite, it all has to do with creativity, but we can differenciate between three finish , regular print (natt or shine), a sort of colourless (transparent) varnish and  high relief (3D) print.

The thechnology that we use does not apply an extra layer that makes the leather lose its natural characteristics. It is real print, just like if it were a print on a piece of paper. It is a high performance print.

Pileus - Examples of Leather Prints


Genuine crocodile, alligator, stingray, snake, ostrich, lizard leather and other kinds of exotic skins are amongst the most luxurious leathers in the market. Only the most skilled leather goods craftsmen are able to work with these types of leathers especially due to their hardness.

All exotic leathers must be obtained in full compliance of CITES  regulations. That’s why very skin must have a tag specifying that they comply this. The tag means that the animal was fed in a farm that guarantees the survival of the species and wild life.

The photos below have been taken at local leather supplier Curtidos Zarco S.L.



Leather Auxiliary Industry
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Posted on February 2nd, 2012
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For our fifth interview  we have a vey good example of the thriving new generations that eventually will lead the companies of the leather goods industry in Andalusia (Spain). Cristina is the daughter of the current manager of leather and metal trims supplier Curtidos Zarco S.L. , Mr. José Antonio Rubiales. We hope you enjoy the interview.



Betangible:Tell us a Little bit about the background of Curtidos Zarco

Cristina Rubiales: Well, the link with the leather goods industry in Ubrique (Spain) started in 1887 when my great grandfather established the first company. It was a tannery that was not far away from our current warehouse. He used to work as both a tanner and a leather worker (link a nuestro post) for a local leather goods manufacturer. After a few years he gave up the profession of leather worker and he concentrated in the tannery and started representing some of the top quality tanneries of the times. In fact, he and his brother started to supply leathers that were tanned in Spain, Italy and UK.


Betangible:Where does this leather come from? How much leather have you got here?

C.R. We are the official suppliers of some of the most successful tanneries in countries like Spain, Italy and France. In the past, we used to stock several hundreds of square feet of each type of leather. However, this is not affordable anymore due to the many types of leather that we have here. In spite of this fact, we always have more than 50,000 square feet of leather in stock.

Betangible:What type of leather is your best seller?

C.R. About 90 % of the leather that we sell is cattle skin. The remaining 10 % is divided into lamb skin, goat skin, pig skin, reptiles and Shagreen / Galuchat skin


Betangible:What is your customer profile?

C.R.  Most of my clients are leather goods manufacturers in Andalusia (Spain). They come here to buy the leather that they will use in the production for their clients. We are also getting more and more clients from other countries such as UK, Belgium, Germany, France and USA. They are mainly designers and brands that want to buy the leather, metal trims or reinforcements directly and ask the manufacturer to source it from us.



Betangible:Can you tell us some designers or brands that are using (or have used) your products (leather, metal trims or reinforcements)?

C.R. Just to mention some international designers or brands… Carolina Herrera, Loewe and Chris&Tibor. Many local brands and designers are also using our products. Some of them are Carla Sade and Barada


Betangible:We are observing that price of leather is increasing sharply. Which are the reasons for this increase?

C.R. There are two main reasons for this.

– Due to the financial situation we currently have, human consumption of cattle meat is decreasing. Therefore, fewer animals are scarified. There is not as much hides as there used to be in the past.

– There is a huge demand of leather from China and emerging countries such as Brazil and India.

These two reasons have led tanners increase prices.



Betangible | Interviews | Leather Auxiliary Industry
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Posted on September 6th, 2011
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Buckles, rings, snaps, clasps, zip sliders… can be sourced from local suppliers. These suppliers are used to deal with tough and demanding luxury brands, which are always searching for the best quality and service. Metal fittings can be made of different materials such as Brass, Zamak® – (zinc based alloy) or Nickel alloys among others.

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First-level industries must be surrounded by other auxiliary industries that support the industrial activity and help the leading industry in its everyday work.  The Andalusian leather goods industry boasts more than a hundred companies that accompany leather goods manufacturers in their tasks providing products and services.

Leather suppliers in Ubrique are stocking in their warehouses millions of square feet of all types of leather. The leather comes from first-level European tanneries, mainly based in Spain, Italy and France.


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