No Compromises in Shoe Manufacturing

Shoe manufacturing

The shoe industry plays a central role in the global economy and society. It is a dynamic sector that constantly responds to changes in technology, fashion, consumer behavior, and sustainability standards. Release agents play a crucial role in shoe manufacturing during various stages of production, especially in the making of soles, insoles, and other parts that are formed in molds.

Release agents are used in shoe production to facilitate the demolding of shoe components from molds or tools. Due to their flexibility, durability, and elasticity, elastomers are a preferred material in many areas of shoe manufacturing. However, handling this material and demolding parts of the shoe made from it poses a challenge.

Key parts of the shoe made from elastomers include:

  • Soles
    The outsoles of many shoes are made from rubber or other elastomeric materials valued for their slip resistance, abrasion resistance, and flexibility. Midsoles may also be made from softer elastomers to provide cushioning and shock absorption.
  • Heels
    In shoes with raised heels, the heels themselves or parts of them may be made from elastomers to improve comfort and shock absorption.
  • Insoles
    Insoles, especially those designed for comfort, support, or orthopedic purposes, may be made from elastomeric foams.

The release agents used in the manufacturing of these parts must be carefully selected to ensure compatibility with the materials. The release agents must not negatively affect the final products.

Contrasting Requirements: Easily Demoldable, Optimal Adhesive Properties

In the production of rubber soles, the release agent used must meet two seemingly contradictory requirements: On one hand, it should facilitate the demolding of the soles from the molds by enabling a smooth separation of the rubber from the mold. This requires a characteristic of the release agent that minimizes adhesion between the rubber and the mold, ensuring damage-free and efficient production. On the other hand, the release agent must not interfere with subsequent processing steps, especially the bonding of the soles to other parts of the shoe. Therefore, it is essential that the release agent leaves no residues that could worsen the adhesive properties of the rubber.

Release Agents for Shoe Sole Blanks

In the production of shoe soles from elastomers using the molding process, sole blanks are initially manufactured. These blanks are preformed, extruded in suitable geometry, and cut. Extrusion release agents can prevent the sole blanks from sticking to each other immediately after extrusion (preforming) and during any potential storage. The soles then receive their specific profile through the molding process. Here, the extrusion release agent facilitates the demolding of the finished soles from the mold tools.

Separating agents for extrusion

A well-known manufacturer and supplier of rubber processing machinery is BARWELL®. Their range also includes machines for the preforming of shoe sole blanks.
– BARWELL® is a registred trademark of Barwell Global Ltd.

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