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Freudenberg’s Latest Material Innovations Target Footwear, Biodegrade in 60 Days

Freudenberg Performance Materials’ latest innovations include world firsts, according to the textile firm.

The German company said it brought a first-ever nonwoven crimping footwear fabric to Milan for the leather-focused Lineappelle trade show running Feb. 19-21, showcasing its high permanent moldability, flexibility, suppleness and shape retention.

Integrating the material into production should help manufacturers reduce costs due to faster thermoplastic moldability compared to traditional knitted footwear fabric, the materials company said.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for ever softer, more flexible and at the same time fashionable shoes,” according to the company’s statement. “Freudenberg’s innovative nonwoven-based crimping material succeeds in reconciling the demands of consumers with the associated technical challenges for manufacturers.”

The material also offers a reduced weight-to-area ratio for lighter overall products and enables multi-directional stretching for uniform longitudinal and transverse stretching over a shoe’s vamp. Due to its direction-independent pattern grading, manufacturers that implement the nonwoven fabric can expect 10 percent less cut waste, Freudenberg said.

The same moldability properties improve fitting and shaping, the company said, claiming that molded vamps made with the crimping fabric stay 100 percent true to the last even after 72 hours of wear.

“The material’s extremely fine fibers allow shoes to be designed that are very soft in character and provide optimum comfort,” Freudenberg said. “At the same time, the exceptionally high cutting-edge stability increases the range of creative design possibilities.”

Freudenberg’s booth will be located in Hall 9 of the Lineappelle trade show until Feb. 21.

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Freudenberg Performance Materials recently released a nonwoven crimping material for footwear and a biodegradable padding with Lenzing.
Freudenberg’s Comfortemp Lyocell thermal insulation padding is the first 100 percent biodegradable padding, according to the materials producer. Freudenberg Performance Materials

In January, Freudenberg also announced the release of its Comfortemp Lyocell thermal insulation padding, made in partnership with Lenzing, showcasing the material at ISPO from Jan. 26-29.

Freudenberg described Comfortemp as the world’s first fully biodegradable padding made from sustainably produced cellulose fiber. It’s designed to completely degrade in soil within 60 days while still meeting requirements for high-performance thermal insulation in outdoor and performance apparel, the company added.

By contrast, polyester is found in 60 percent of all garments, according to Freudenberg, and takes an average of 500 years to fully break down, significantly prolonging a garment’s life cycle and adding to current problems with apparel waste and environmental pollution.

“In addition to reduced consumption, more recycling and increasing the quality of garments to ensure that they can be worn for longer, innovative ecological solutions are urgently needed for the end of the garment life cycle,” Freudenberg added.

Comfortemp padding is based on Lyocell, a cellulose material produced by Lenzing from eucalyptus wood sourced from sustainable forests. Even the solvent used to produce the fibers is completely reused and returned to the production cycle.

“This innovation is the result of intensive research and close cooperation between Freudenberg and Lenzing,” Benoit Cugnet, head of global strategic marketing at Freudenberg, said. “As an ecologically responsible manufacturer of special fibers from the renewable raw material wood, the Lenzing Group is a perfect partner for Freudenberg.”

The padding absorbs up to 45 percent of moisture produced by the body while remaining water repellent and drying quickly. The fabric is said to be highly breathable, anti-static and cohesive, preventing fiber migration through the outer fabric.

Freudenberg is offering Comfortemp by the meter, which it says can decrease cost and production time for manufacturers and preclude the need for cold bridges along the seams of apparel products.

“Although the end consumer usually rarely sees or even thinks about the padding, it makes a decisive contribution,” Cugnet said. “After all, it needs to offer protection in all weather and be able to handle all kinds of sporting activities.”

Based in Weinheim, Germany, Freudenberg Performance Materials is a global manufacturer of innovative technical textiles for apparel, automotive, building materials, energy, filter media, healthcare, hygiene, building interiors, shoe and leather goods as well as specialties. The company, which generated sales of more than 920 million euros ($993 million) in 2018, operates 23 manufacturing sites in 13 countries and employs more than 3,600.