3D printed tool for midsole and shank cutting
For every new design tool in composite manufacturing, the right fixture is needed. However, producing them costs a lot and involves long lead times. 3D printing with Addigy® opens new perspectives for industrial designers such as footwear companies who are constantly searching for new ways to test and optimize new midsole designs.
Midsoles and shanks are very important for a shoe’s functioning in terms of torsional stability, energy return, and wearability –thus determining a shoe’s success on the market. This is why shoe-producing companies are constantly optimizing their mid-sole and shank designs to adjust them according to customers’ needs. In order to produce new midsoles and shanks, companies need the right fixture. It is usually made out of metal in order to withstand heat and pressure under the cutting process. However, dedicated fixtures make efficient production difficult since they involve high costs and long lead times – meaning valuable time that is wasted time for shoe companies. While waiting for a new fixture, these companies also often continue to change the midsole and shank design again and again, thereby making the first fixture obsolete.
Addigy®: heat-resistant and high stiffness polycarbonate suitable for underwater cutting
At Covestro, we developed the new polycarbonate Addigy® as an innovative printing material for a midsole or shank cutting fixture. Polycarbonate is stiff and tough enough to bear a heavy load during the cutting process. Polycarbonate also offers high modulus, strength and impact resistance. Polycarbonate is even suitable for underwater cutting thanks to its heat-resistant properties, low shrinkage and dimensional stability. "Addigy® offers exciting potential for companies operating in the field of sports and leisure, such as footwear companies. Moreover, as well as being a material supplier, we at Covestro are also eager to collaborate with customers, helping to find the right materials and printing technologies for each specific case and contributing to exciting new product developments." Yvonne Wang, Business Development APAC, Additive Manufacturing Covestro.
Addigy® offers exciting potential for companies operating in the field of sports and leisure, such as footwear companies. Moreover, as well as being a material supplier, we at Covestro are also eager to collaborate with customers, helping to find the right materials and printing technologies for each specific case and contributing to exciting new product developments.
3D printed fixtures save time and Money
3D printing has been widely used in tooling because it saves valuable time and costs. This holds true for Addigy® which makes midsole and shank cutting easier, faster and cheaper for footwear companies. While metal fixtures have a lead time of two to four weeks, 3D printed fixtures only take 12 hours to finish. What’s more, the weight of a 3D printed fixture for midsole and shank cutting is only one fourth the weight of a metal fixture, which makes it much more convenient to use. And the cherry on the cake: as well as great performance and high speed production, Addigy® 3D printed fixtures are cheaper to produce than metal fixtures.
- Higher speed: Fixture can be produced within 12 hours
- Lower weight: Fixture weighs only 0.5 kilograms
- Lower Cost: 3D printed fixtures are cheaper than fixtures made of metal