Bringing together a dedicated team of process engineers, footwear specialists and technicians coupled with latest technologies and machinery, the centres will serve as a global platform to formulate and test new material innovations, refine processes and evaluate concepts in large-scale production environments, said BASF in a media statement.
Located in Wyandotte, Michigan, the Footwear Development Center is a 2000-square-foot lab that is fully equipped with advanced footwear machinery for outsole, midsole and unit sole developments. The centre helps designers bring their visions to life and enhances customers’ speed to market by new material testing and prototype production via polyurethane direct injection moulding.
“Through the Footwear Development Center, BASF is helping customers drive innovation in the footwear industry and making the future happen now,” said Pete Zorney, business director consumer, North America, BASF.
BASF also recently expanded its Footwear Development Center in Italy and has opened a new center in Thailand. Both feature new machinery with direct injection moulding technology, as well as showrooms that highlight BASF’s decades-long experience in producing innovative products.
“The Footwear Development Center located in Italy is considered a pioneer in the industry as it was the first that brought material expertise and innovation under one roof in this fashion and footwear hub,” said Thomas Bartz, business manager consumer, Europe, BASF. “We now can connect designers and brand owners to material innovation and production, be it Europe, the US or Asia. This has become all possible thanks to our footwear powerhouses across the world.”
In 2020, BASF will also launch the Footwear Innovation Center in Taiwan to further strengthen its capabilities and customer co-development approaches in Asia Pacific. Strategically located in Taiwan, the centre will give footwear professionals first-hand experience about how BASF materials can help develop future footwear using the latest manufacturing processes in areas such as comfort, performance, quality and design.
“With over 40 years of rich experience in the footwear materials segment, we are proud of our innovations, such as Infinergy, high rebound PU midsole or new thermoplastic polyurethane grades, which have transformed the footwear landscape. Our recent investments into this segment are a symbol of our commitment to the industry, and we look forward to developing more exciting innovations in the future,” said Andy Postlethwaite, senior vice president, Performance Materials Asia Pacific, BASF.
BASF recently introduced X-Swift, a multipurpose athleisure shoe featuring its performance technologies, in collaboration with Longterm Concept. BASF will also present a visionary new shoe concept that will be unveiled at the upcoming A+A Fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. (PC)
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