Also based in China, PEAK Sports unveiled its new ‘The Next’ line of 3D printed sneakers with the Wanhua Chemical Group last week at K 2019 in Düsseldorf. The shoes are 3D printed with Wanhua Chemical’s ‘3D Printed Shoe-Material Solution,’ comprising of recycled TPU. Farsoon’s Application R&D team supported the development of PEAK Sports’ ‘The Next’ shoe collection with one of its SLS 3D printers.
Kui Cai, Design Director of Peak Sports USA Design Centre stated, “We kept improving the synergy of different 3D printing materials on the sneakers, enhancing the all-round customization experience, and raising the higher standards for environmental performance.”
“Together with Wanhua Chemical, we breached the bottlenecks of the existing 3D printing material solutions and will bring to global consumers a sneaker that is stylish, comfortable, customizable and recyclable.”
3D printing in footwear
3D printing has firmly established itself as a key technology within the footwear market, with many shoemakers turning to the process to develop sneakers with improved design, comfort and customization. One of the most notable examples comes from German footwear giant adidas, which has collaborated with Silicon Valley-based DLS company Carbon to create the ADIDAS 4D 3D printing platform. Sneakers released on ADIDAS 4D come equipped with midsoles 3D printed with Carbon’s DLS technology.
Another recent example from a major footwear maker includes New Balance’s collaboration with Massachusetts-based 3D printer OEM Formlabs to create the TripleCell 3D printing platform for sneakers. Thus far, New Balance has released two shoes on the platform, one featuring a 3D printed midsole, the other a 3D printed forefoot.
PEAK Sports, a leading branded sportswear company in China, has now entered into a long-term partnership with Farsoon Technologies to co-develop a total 3D printing athletic footwear solution. Although it has already forayed into 3D printing to develop its shoes, PEAK Sports aims to overcome the challenges currently facing the production of 3D printed footwear in its partnership with Farsoon. These problems revolve around material engineering, customization, shoe structure and collaboration in the value chain.
Targeting mass production
Both Farsoon and PEAK Sports collaborated to develop a 3D printed midsole for ‘The Next’ shoe line, using Wanhua Chemical’s 3D Printed Shoe-Material Solution. As with other 3D printed midsoles, using the manufacturing technique allows for the embedding of more complex structures within the component, which is integral for comfort. These complex structures help to optimize the performance and stability of the footwear during cushioning and bending.
Using 3D printing has also helped PEAK Sports to reduce the weight of ‘The Next’ shoe’s design, while simultaneously ensuring durability. Both Farsoon and PEAK Sports carried out many engineering iterations and tests during the application development of the 3D printed midsole. The Farsoon Application R&D team worked towards developing advanced laser sintering processing parameters of Wanhua Chemical’s TPU material, while PEAK Sports optimized the design structure according to strength requirements. The two firms are targeting mass production of the 3D printed shoes, and are aiming to tailor their process to meet the productivity, cost and throughput demands of achieving this goal.
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Featured image shows composition of PEAK Sports’ ‘The Next’ Shoe. Image via PEAK Sports.