TPU for one-shot glue-less production of footwear soles

The Italian company API has introduced the new recyclable Apilon 52 A/C TPU series at Simac Tanning Tech 2019 (hall 14, stand B45), which is being held from 20 – 22 February 2019 in Milan, Italy.

In order to demonstrate the advantages of this material solution in the production process, actual soles are produced in a one-shot production solution at the trade show. According to the company, the Apilon 52 A/C series is a new lightweight footwear solution of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials, offering a combination of soft touch, aesthetics and lightness, and a very high thermo-abrasion resistance comparable even with rubber according to DIN 53516. The recyclable material is said to reduce production cycle time by up to 70 % compared to thermosetting materials, like vulcanised rubber and EVA, cutting production costs and lowering energy consumption. The TPU is also said to offer design flexibility, ideal for the highly demanding footwear segments.

A second material featured in the one-shot solution showcase at Simac 2019 is Apilon 52 Light, a TPU best suited to the production of midsoles. According to API, the lightweight recyclable material cuts down on production waste and has a lower environmental footprint than other low-density materials such as EVA and PU foam. Its velvet and natural haptic characteristics are ideal for midsoles, and it offers design and moulding flexibility, said the company.

Together, the two materials enable a one-shot solution for dual density / bi-component soles in a single production step. No glue has to be used in this bonding process. This reduces costs associated with equipment such as moulds and simplifies the labour-intensive assembling procedure. The one-shot solution is presented at Simac 2019, as part of the Main Group stand (hall 14, stands D20 + D36). Main Group is a partner of API and a manufacturer of injection moulding machines.

“We are very excited about Apilon 52 A/C, as this product series, in combination with our Apilon 52 Light product, enables a fully recyclable one-shot solution”, said Giancarlo Busa, Business Unit Manager Footwear. “This quality will help us to extend our already strong offer in luxury footwear and to compete in the athletic and professional segments.”

API is an Italian company specialised in the production of thermoplastic elastomeric compounds and bioplastics. The company was acquired by global materials company Trinseo in July 2017.