2D printed hot melt adhesives enable increased automation in footwear production

Shoe assembly is a labor-intensive process where adhesives are often applied manually. With Desmomelt® U, Covestro offers aliphatic hot melt adhesive raw materials that can be applied automatically via 2D digital printing. This means fewer processing steps and less waste without compromising quality.
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Footwear producers face a dilemma of how to simplify complex shoe production processes

Manufacturing shoes, sneakers and athletic footwear involves an extensive sequence of production steps, many of which are still handled manually. Even today, adhesives are typically applied by brush. Complex gluing of the upper and the outsole demands precise dosing to ensure that the sole does not detach, yet at the same time avoids visible over-cementing. Attempts to automate this process with robot-assisted spraying have led to overspray and often necessary but unwanted a masking procedures. 
Currently, Dispercoll® U polyurethane dispersions are the state-of-the-art adhesives of Covestro for sneaker-type footwear, but their application remains a manual process that is challenging to automate.

Automated 2D digital application of footwear adhesives using Desmomelt® U 

By adding 2D digital printing to the range of glue applicators available for footwear, Covestro can help reduce the amount of manual steps in shoe production. Our Desmomelt® U non-yellowing aliphatic raw materials combines the high molecular weight and high performance of waterborne adhesives with the easy processing of a PU hot melt. This innovative adhesive raw material offers adjustable open times for increased processing flexibility. When used as thermoplastic material, it can contribute to more sustainability by making the end-of-life disassembly of shoes and sneakers easier. The automation of adhesive application can significantly reduce the number of processing steps in footwear production.

Covestro: your trusted partner for polyurethane adhesive raw materials

Covestro is one of the trusted global leaders in polyurethane raw materials for adhesives, and our expertise means that we can work closely with footwear and adhesive producers to help implement automated glue application processes through 2D digital printing. Our Desmomelt® U range of adhesive raw material powders can be processed into foils or filaments tailored to your footwear processing requirements. 
With innovative Desmomelt® U technology, our goal is to enable you to reduce the complexity of your footwear production, while offering increased gluing precision with the trusted performance of PU adhesives.  

“Our non-yellowing Desmomelt® U aliphatic raw materials for hot melt adhesives enable footwear manufacturers to apply glue digitally with high precision. Automating adhesive application reduces the number of processing steps and avoids inefficient over-cementing. We can supply adhesive raw material powders - to ideally suit your footwear production.”

Dr. Ann-Christin Bijlard-Jung

Business Development Digital Printing, Covestro

Key Benefits

  • Automation and easier production: Automated adhesive application means fewer processing steps are required.
  • Digital precision: Footwear adhesives can now be printed exactly where they are needed.
  • Trusted performance: Desmomelt® U offers the high performance of PU adhesives
  • Supply to suit you: Deliverable as powder which can be processed into foil or filament form.
  • Design freedom: Digital printing means even complex shoe forms can be glued with precision.

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