When it comes to polyurethane soles, some people automatically think of DESMA. This is because Desma, located in Germany, has been a leading PU molding machine manufacturer for the past 50 years.
The company is also a leading innovator in PU sole technology. A representative example of this is the DESflow process introduced in 2012, which is a technology that pre-mixes the dye with natural PU immediately before injecting it into the mold.
Another German company that has long and successfully tracked the supply of PU and TPU polymers to a wide range of footwear is chemical manufacturer BASF. In addition to supplying raw materials, BASF is developing high-performance surface solutions for the coating sector. These two companies recently announced NovaCoat-D. Novacoat D is a completely new and fundamentally different process for adding pigment to a molded PU sole. And Novacoat D can also function as a spraying material to facilitate the extraction of footwear once the molding cycle is complete.
This process is to spray Novacoat D into the mold holes in the same way it is applied to mold release agents. However, in this case, the spray forms a colored film inside the hole and chemically bonds with the polyurethane foam injected into the sole. When the molding cycle is complete, it becomes a permanent part of the skin of the finished sole. The chemicals used by BASF are outstanding innovations. This is because it also functions as a release agent that can easily peel off the molding without additional processing.
According to BASF, the chemical can be used in combination with several polyurethane foams to produce a durable and flexible finish. In addition, it has several additional advantages, such as making the sole resistant to scratches, UV, and dust. It can also cover small blemishes on the surface of the molded sole. In addition, it is available in a variety of colors and can be finished from smooth to matte surfaces depending on the exact chemical composition and mold design.
Desma said that it can cope with the fast cycle of round table molding machines and has upgraded most of its machines to incorporate Novacoat D into the molding processes it uses. The best way to do this is to test, and eventually Desma has teamed up with BASF teams in Asia, Europe and North America to conduct tests before piloting with stakeholders. And as a first step, the first test was conducted to confirm the compatibility of coating on the foam currently used by the customer. If the main concern is automation processes, this can be done either at BASF’s technical center or at Desma. After this initial verification, further inspection may be conducted using either Standard Coating, Clearcoat 5KG, or Orange Metallic 5KG with the required Novacoat D hardener.
This is a smart concept from two companies with a reputation for innovation and product quality, and there is no doubt that they will do everything they claim to be. The process of combining the operations of the two companies into one will not only simplify the manufacture of polyurethane moldings for footwear, but will also bring benefits in terms of finish, aesthetics and wear resistance.