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Evaluation of hides, wet blue and leather using airborne ultrasonics

Liu, Cheng-Kung, Latona, Nicholas P., Yoon, Seung-Chul
Journal of American Leather Chemists Association 2013 v.108 no.4 pp. 128
cluster analysis, computer software, farmers, leather, leather tanning, prices, quality control, rural economics, ultrasonic treatment, ultrasonics, United States
Animal hides are important agricultural commodities closely associated with rural economics and the well being of rural farmers in the United States. Approximately 90% of the hides produced in the United States are being exported, the remaining 10% are mostly tanned into leather. At the present time, however, hides and leather are visually inspected and ranked according to quality, sale price and usable area. Visual inspection is not reliable for detecting defects, which are usually hidden inside the material or under the hair in fresh hides. This manual assessment is not uniform among operators, and often leads to disputes over fair price. Development of a non-contact nondestructive method to accurately evaluate the quality of hides and leather is urgently needed. We previously reported the research results for airborne ultrasonic (AU) testing using non-contact transducers to evaluate the quality of hides and leather. We demonstrated the ability of AU to reveal defects in hides and leather that are difficult to be found during visual inspection. In this paper, we present new results on AU inspection, particularly using statistical data/cluster analysis software, in which we are now able to numerically present the C-scan results on leather and hide defects.