Simplicity Works, Huntsman and DESMA collaborate to revolutionise the footwear sector

Simplicity Works, working together with Huntsman Polyurethanes and DESMA, says it has developed a revolutionary new shoe production method that offers game-changing possibilities to manufacturers looking to produce products closer to customers in Europe and North America.

The three companies have created a highly automated, cost effective way of bonding together two-dimensional components, in a single shot, to form a seamless, three-dimensional upper.

The 3D Bonding Technology employs an innovative 3D mould design created by Simplicity Works, a specifically designed, injectable material from Huntsman Polyurethanes and a DESMA injection-moulding machine.

Simplicity Works’ patent-protected 3D Bonding Technology process connects all pieces of a shoe simultaneously, in just seconds and requires no stitching and no lasting.

Inevitably this is faster and cheaper than conventional footwear manufacturing techniques.

Individual upper components are placed into the mould, in slots separated by narrow channels, a counter mould then presses each piece into place.

The network of channels between the upper components is then injected, in a single shot, with the high-performance polyurethane developed by Huntsman and the result is a shoe upper, held together by a flexible, polyurethane skeleton.

Available in different colours, the texture of the bonded polyurethanes lines or ribways, can be varied allowing designers to select glossy or matt options combined with multiple other, textile-like surface finishes.

With no knitting or stitching lines, and no doubling-up of material, shoes have less friction and pressure points and shoes are more waterproof as there are no needle holes or permeable seam lines.

The company says it is already proving popular with numerous big brand shoe companies, helping them bring local production overheads into line with lower labour costs.

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