Shoes and other apparel are as much about comfort and performance as they are about style and durability. Footwear and apparel must not only look good, but it also has to perform and last. Every season brings a new design to keep up with the fashion trends, but also the improvements in technology. This fast design cycle means manufacturers have to be flexible in their process in order to be responsive to the changing market.
Most shoes typically have two main parts. The bottom sole of the shoe is made of molded foam, and the upper is made of a variety of materials ranging from leather to synthetic fabric to even plastic. To assist the molding process, mold release needs to be precisely applied to the mold, to enable the foam sole to be easily removed without defect. The upper materials are often painted to meet the appearance needs of customers. For any given shoe model, several different colors or designs need to be applied in a precise and stringent manner. Once these operations are complete, a spray adhesive is applied to adhere the upper and sole. A precise amount of adhesive needs to be applied to ensure durability of the shoe, but applying too much will result in quality defects and overspray waste. In order to manufacture shoes at a high production rate, each process is usually automated and strictly controlled. Mastering these operations is the key to making good footwear in a demanding market.
Graco’s ProBell rotary atomizer utilizes fine atomization and electrostatic technology to ensure a thin layer of mold release is coated completely and evenly onto foam molds ensuring each sole is removed easily with no defects. Our AirPro spray guns precisely control the adhesive spray application to provide a uniform adhesive layer, keeping the shoe intact while reducing overspray waste. The ProMix PD2K Auto utilizes multiple positive displacement pumps for quick and low waste color changes to allow for flexibility when changing between multiple product colors and styles.