By Christian Decker and Bjoern Dormann, DESMA, Desmastrasse 3/5, D-28832 Achim, Germany
Producers of polyurethane goods, including footwear, are increasingly being forced to consider methods that reduce the carbon footprint of their production and to look for approaches to “greener” manufacturing.
Such trends are forcing the industry to think of new processes and technologies. While some new solutions are obvious, existing technologies also have to be improved.
Current trends affecting particularly the athletic footwear sector are:
- green aspects;
- lower carbon footprint;
- lighter weight;
- increasing domestic production;
- brand trust; and
- shipping costs-shipping time, energy use, globalisation generates a range of effects.
These trends have generated new production philosophies, leading to new challenges, some of them contradictory.
The challenges include reduction of environmental effects, lowering the VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels, and cutting material and energy consumption. Other desirable aspects include minimising production and logistics costs, the ability to make individual products, a high level of production flexibility and mass-customisation.
At the same time, manufacturers must look for innovative design possibilities, and ways to improve product performance.
New technologies for assembly process
At Desma, now strategy in recent years has been to develop new technologies, so as to be…