Dow, known for their historical innovations in chemicals, is lending their expertise to the ECCO Shoes’ QUANT-U line as they partner in creating a new system of shoe-making. Also collaborating with Dassault Systèmes, this power punch of leading companies presented the latest trend in materials, technology, and footwear in Japan recently at the ECCO Shoes’ Spring-Summer preview.
The QUANT-U customized footwear was introduced to other industry peers and experts, writers, stores, and fashion enthusiasts in the Asia-Pacific realm. ECCO’s independent cross-disciplinary design studio, Innovation Lab (ILE), heads up this new experimental line, offering customer-specific fit and consequent comfort—along with performance. 3D printing is the technology behind the project, and Dow’s liquid silicone rubber is the material making it possible.
Known as SILASTIC 3D 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR), Dow’s new 3D printing material is used to create shoes formed from the wearer’s ‘individual biomechanical data,’ featuring silicone midsoles that adapt to the customer’s shape and typical movements. This form of LSR was created by Dow specifically for 3D printing. Featuring a low viscosity, the versatile silicone results in smooth fabrication processes, accompanied by the requisite high resolution and accuracy.
The footwear team also expects its future customers to benefit from:
- Elasticity and recovery
- Optimized energy return
- Added foot stability
What also sets this new 3D printing venture in fashion/accessories/shoes apart from the others is the timeframe: less than one hour to create, in-store. Overall, the project between all entities culminating in the retail QUANT-U product took two years of development—with a recent press release stating that this brings together 50 years of footwear knowledge on ECCO’s part, and over 70 years in silicone elastomer experience from Dow. While SILASTIC brand silicone rubber was created by Dow over 45 years ago, this type of modern elastomer is helpful in rapid prototyping, the fabrication of complex geometries, and suitable in industrial applications like consumer goods, automotive, electrical, and more.
“The QUANT-U collaboration showcases one of the infinite opportunities SILASTIC™ 3D-printable liquid silicone rubbers are opening up for designers seeking part design flexibility and the processing advantages of additive manufacturing along with the performance advantages of silicone rubber,” said Charlie Zimmer, global marketing director for silicone elastomers with Dow Performance Silicones.
Fashion and clothing designers around the world are enjoying countless new opportunities today thanks to 3D printing, and the same goes for a variety of different footwear—whether in ballet shoes, high heels, running shoes, or other unique products and projects like QUANT-U–which seem poised to change the face of shoe shopping for consumers open to progressive technology.
The QUANT-U shoes will be available for the first time from the general public on the 20th of April.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source: QUANT-U]