Global chemicals company Huntsman has invested in new equipment in a bid to boost the research and development (R&D) services it offers to footwear producers and their manufacturing partners worldwide.
Huntsman develops innovative polyurethane and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials for the footwear industry, and has a number of technical centres that can provide specialist support to the sector throughout Asia, the Americas and Europe. Part of a much larger global network of Huntsman innovation and customer care centres, these footwear hubs offer design, prototyping, testing and technical support to some of the world’s leading brands.
To enrich its work across the entire footwear value chain and create fully equipped testing and prototyping environments in all three regions, the firm has purchased machines that it says provide extra technical capabilities in polyurethane casting, direct-on production, multi-section injection moulding, and TPU injection moulding.
In the last year, the business has also set up a Technical Service and Development Centre in Vietnam to complement its existing facility in Thailand, which supports customers in Southeast Asia.
“Many of the footwear companies we work with are big global brands. These companies want their material suppliers to have a similar geographic footprint – not just in terms of people, production and supply, but also for the delivery of innovation services and technical support,” explains Jim McCloud, Americas footwear sales manager at Huntsman. “Our recent investments have been made with the needs of these customers in mind. Standardising the equipment we have in place, across all three regions, gives our customers – large and small – peace of mind that we can replicate their manufacturing set up anywhere in the world and get new collaborative projects up and running, quickly and efficiently.”