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A New PU Injection Technology Streamlines Safety Footwear Production

Seamless constructions and customization doesn’t end with sneakers anymore.

Portuguese safety footwear manufacturer AMF announced a new PU injection technology for safety shoes at the 20th UITIC International Technical Footwear Congress in Porto, Portugal Thursday that will allow work footwear to take on features typically reserved for the athletic footwear world.

The new process, called 3D Bonding, aims to standardize production with greater precision, Pedro Carvalho, AMF commercial director, said. The technology molds all the pieces of the shoe together with a PU 3-D skeleton without stitching or a last. The skeleton unites the pieces together, giving it structure, stability and better adaptability.

The process requires 30 percent less upper material than traditional safety shoes. The adaptive seams stretch for superior comfort even with the various materials used for construction leaving a waterproof yet breathable product. Additionally, 3D Bonding results in a 70 percent labor reduction and a 12 percent reduction in energy costs, making for a sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional injection.

Spanish technology firm Simplicityworks developed the technology, and AMF has the exclusive for the technology in the safety footwear category. It will introduce 3D Bonding in its work footwear brand, To Work For, later this year with the new Infinity collection.

The technology gives AMF a new level of agility and the ability to tap into footwear’s customization trend. Consumers will be able to personalize their Infinity footwear online by selecting materials and colors.

“A technology doesn’t sell by itself. It must bring benefits to end user, otherwise it will just be interesting to the industry,” Carvalho said.

AMF will house the innovative machinery at its new factory in Portugal—a 10 million euro ($11.7 million) investment designed to speed up production and adapt to future technologies.

“We have studied what the latest tendencies are in industrial design and logistics. We’ve learned a lot from the auto industry and how they’re designing factories for the future,” Carvalho said. “It needs to be ready for all technologies because technology has a timeframe. You always have to bring in new innovations, the cycle never stops.”