HP, Decathlon, and Lonati Group have joined forces to present a groundbreaking and innovative 3D-printed sustainable shoe project at the ITMA trade show in Milan. We are living in a digital era, where adapting the use of technology and innovation is one of the primary criteria to ensure sustainability.
This collaboration aims to redefine the industry by highlighting the advantages of customization, circularity, local production, and flexibility leveraging the power of digital technologies and 3D printing.
“We are excited to partner with HP’s Customization and 3D Printing division and the Lonati Group on this project that exemplifies our commitment to sustainability. By utilizing the potential of 3D printing, we are revolutionizing the shoe manufacturing process by offering consumers customized, recyclable and locally produced footwear.”– Phillipe Seille, Exploration Leader at Decathlon
Shoe Production with 3D Printing
Traditionally, shoe production involves multiple parts, adhesive materials, and a significant workforce. And it involves several steps like designing, pattern making, stamping, sewing, assembling with glues, stitching, shank adding, and so on. And this process varies from shoe to shoe.
But in ITMA 2023, HP, Decathlon, and Lonati Group introduced a new way of shoe-making with the help of 3D printing technology. Their goal is to create a shoe that embodies the future of footwear manufacturing.
The shoe combines Lonati’s ‘meticulously crafted’ sock with an innovative midsole and outsole produced using HP’s Jet Fusion 5200 3D printer. Lonati’s XT-MACHINE and Double Cylinder E1530XS knitting machines enable the production of uppers with single or double-layer fabric, resulting in an integrated upper that offers superior comfort, lightness, performance, and quality.
“HP’s Multi Jet Fusion Technology is enabling a new era of sustainable and innovative manufacturing. We are proud to partner with Decathlon in showcasing the immense potential of 3D printing in contributing to a more sustainable approach to manufacturing. Lonati Group’s expertise in shoe-upper technology aligns perfectly with our shared values of sustainability. It is truly inspiring to work together.”– Don Albert, Head of Footwear and Sports at HP Personalisation & 3D Printing
Advanced materials for optimal performance
To ensure optimal performance, the midsole and outsole of the shoe are manufactured using BASF Ultrasint TPU01 material. This versatile thermoplastic polyurethane powder is renowned for its exceptional shock absorption and flexibility. By integrating these advanced materials and technologies, Decathlon and HP are revolutionizing the sports footwear industry, offering unmatched comfort, durability, and performance.
Key Technical Features
- Customization: The shoe is highly customizable, allowing consumers to personalize their footwear to suit their preferences and needs. This customization is made possible by the flexibility of 3D printing technology and the versatile knitting capabilities of Lonati’s machines.
- Circularity and Repairability: The shoe is designed for easy repairability and circularity. A glueless assembly method is employed, allowing the cushion and upper parts to be separated and repaired individually, thereby extending the shoe’s lifespan. Additionally, the use of a single material, TPU, for the grip and cushion parts enhances recyclability and contributes to a more sustainable product lifecycle.
- Local Production: With 3D printing, the shoe can be produced locally, reducing transportation emissions and supporting local economies. This localized manufacturing approach minimizes the carbon footprint associated with logistics and fosters regional growth.
- Flexibility: The manufacturing process offers flexibility regarding inventory management and on-demand production. This means that production can be optimized to reduce waste, as shoes can be manufactured as needed, reducing overstocking and inventory wastage.
- Support Local Economies: This shoe is made using single material and glueless assembly. That requires less transportation and less transportation emissions.
A sustainable vision for the future
The collaboration between HP, Decathlon, and Lonati Group presents a compelling vision for the future of footwear manufacturing. By integrating advanced technologies such as 3D printing and digital knitting, they have successfully created a sustainable, customizable, and locally produced shoe that promotes circularity and reduces waste. This project represents a significant step towards more environmentally friendly and innovative manufacturing practices in the sports footwear industry.