Central Leather Research Institute, India was founded on 24 April, 1948. It was a land mark decision of the country born at the mid- night of 15th August 1947, to invest into leather research. In 1947, the export basket of India included mostly raw hides and skins. There remained an untapped opportunity for India in leather sector for economic development, employment generation and export earnings. The missing link was addition of technology to the manufacturing base of Indian leather sector. CLRI was founded to develop an internal strength in the country to generate, assimilate and innovate technologies for leather sector.
It is one matter to design and develop technologies but entirely another to reach viable technologies in a traditional sector like leather. CLRI in 1948, made an initiative with foresight to link technology system with both academy and industry. CLRI assumed the role of being a part of the University of Madras in imparting education in leather technology. The seed sown in 1948 has now grown into a tree with nearly 60% of the industry in India being manned and managed by the Alumni of CLRI.
CLRI, today, is a central hub in Indian leather sector with direct roles in education, research, training, testing, designing, forecasting, planning, social empowerment and leading in science and technology relating to leather. Looking back, CLRI seems a worthwhile investment of India in a sensitive industrial segment of a Nation.
CLRI is vying to emerge a global leader in leather research. The technological services of the institute are as durable as leather. Leather and allied research in CLRI form core areas of activities. There is critical strength for research and development in some critical areas of sciences and technology. Research in CLRI includes non-leather as well.
Leather today co-exists with number of non-leather fabrics. Complementality of non-leather materials with leather is as real as the uniqueness of leather. While man made many non-leather materials look like leather, the Nature made material has defied mankind through its architectural marvel and kindness to human skin.
Skin is unmatched in its architecture. Size distribution and connectivity of pores make skin breathe and thermo-regulate. Perspiration is Nature's way of relating body to the ambience. Well made leather preserves the unmatched property of skin. Human feet fluctuate in volume through the day. The visco-elastic material, leather, readjusts the changing volume of feet, when the shoe is made right. Gentle and kind is leather on human feet. Synthetics strive to perform like leather; but the original is leather that the other materials need to ape.
Leather is great; but the demand is larger than supply. With a mismatched demand-supply gap for hides and skins, leather and non-leather have come to coexist and complement. They are look alikes for leather; but the true like of leather is leather alone.