CHANGHUA, Taiwan—BASF S.E. has opened a global "footwear innovation center" in Taiwan to expand its cooperation with key footwear manufacturers and develop "revolutionary" materials for the industry.
Located within the footwear manufacturing site of its strategic partner Longterm Concept in Changhua, the innovation center will bring professionals, manufacturers and designers together to co-create new-generation footwear, BASF said Aug. 11.
The center will combine LTC's footwear manufacturing technologies with BASF's material expertise, to address common operational challenges, optimize manufacturing processes and improve efficiencies.
Among other things, the facility showcases BASF's Freeflex thermoplastic polyurethane fiber made with Elastollan TPU for shoe uppers.
Additionally, it features Elastopan (PU) solutions and Infinergy, expanded TPU for high-performance footwear, as well as elastic materials for 3D printing of shoes.
The 7,000-sq.-ft. center also includes "state-of-the-art" footwear design software, in-house mold-making machines, automated PU injection machines, and upper knitting machines that enable new shoe design possibilities.
According to BASF, the facility will be able to test and refine material innovations within a shorter time frame and evaluate concepts on a global scale.
"Taiwan is Asia's hub for many footwear manufacturing firms and has a longstanding history with a powerful network of designers," said Andy Postlethwaite, SVP Asia Pacific, performance materials, BASF.
The German chemicals supplier, he said, will help strategic partners differentiate their products, by offering them "direct access to advanced technologies and high-performance materials in one place."