From - The Leather Dictionary
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Acids which have penetrated into the leather during tanning are removed during the neutralising stage. Alkaline sodium carbonate is used in a concentration of 1.2%. Neutralising is necessary, to allow fat-liquoring. There are no attempts to bring the pH value of leather to 7 during this stage, since this would dissolve the binding of the tannins to the skin-fibres and thus drastically reduce the durability of the leather. In practice, a pH value of 4-6 is desired.

Video about the leather production

The leather production in a modern tannery.

Process steps in the leather production
Storage - soaking - liming - fleshing - splitting - pickling - tanning - neutralising - withering - sorting - shaving - dyeing - fatliquoring - retanning - drying - finish - softening - final check

Tanning methods
Chrome tanning - Vegetable-tanned leather - Synthetic tanning - Tanning with fats and oils