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Helping to make shoe manufacturing more efficient with Addigy®

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Manual production, rising wages and cost-intensive processes make shoe manufacturing a challenging business. With Addigy® shoes can be now produced by 3D printing – meaning simplified production processes as well as making the shoes themselves easily recyclable. This is an important innovation to make production more efficient and take a step towards a closed-loop economy.

Task

Simplify shoe production through innovative materials

Today, the footwear industry is facing many challenges, one of them being high production costs due to low automation, rising wages and complex processes. Another important topic is recyclability – an aspect which increasingly comes into focus because of short product cycles. If recyclable shoes could be manufactured with 3D printing, production could be much simpler and the degree of automation increased – enabling lower production costs easier recycling.

    

Challenge

Enable additive manufacturing and recyclability

3D printing would allow manufacturers to make shoes out of only two parts. Another added bonus is that instead of sewing and gluing many parts together by hand as usually happens, the two 3D printed parts could simply be pressed together to make the final shoe, as the adhesive is printed on the upper part in the process. Yet to be able to use the advantages of additive manufacturing we first had to find a suitable material - a material well suited to shoe requirements and printing that can be recycled as easily as the shoe is produced.


Recycled insole
Solution

Addigy® TPU filament and powder

To ensure all the required properties we chose an Addigy® filament and powder based on TPU. Thermoplastic polyurethane offers high rebound and abrasion resistance which makes it a great material for shoes. It can be used for both shoe parts – upper shoe and sole – meaning the whole shoe can be printed with one material class. What’s more, this same shoe can later be recycled in one step, including the PU adhesive used for production, with no need to separate different materials from each other.

With Addigy® we help bring new innovations to the shoe industry, helping to automate production and recycle old shoes into filaments for new shoes.

Lukas Breuers

Marketing Manager, Covestro

Why Addigy® TPU filament and powder was the right solution for 3D printed recyclable shoes

  • High rebound: TPU is a great material for shoe soles and more.
  • Abrasion resistance: TPU helps to ensure products with a long lifespan.
  • Recyclability: Easy recycling in one step – because the whole shoe is made of one material class.
  • Efficiency: Production that is less complex and more efficient – thanks to additive manufacturing with Addigy®.

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