NPE '18: BASF polyurethane looking to step further into footwear market

Source: ICIS News


ORLANDO (ICIS)--BASF is expanding further into footwear industry with laboratory investments and additional employees,  a representative of the company said on Tuesday.

"We’re really pushing hard into the footwear market,” said Mike Krupa, technical manager for BASF. He made his comments on the sidelines of this year's National Plastics Exposition (NPE).

“In fact what we’re doing is investing in all three regions with the same equipment,” he said, noting Europe, the US and Asia. "It’s a big investment.”

Krupa noted that the footwear industry, designers in particular, are using polyurethane and expanded thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (E-TPU) as their material of choice due to stability and design options.

Though most footwear is not made in the US, most footwear companies are US-based, he noted. This creates a need for uniform machinery and materials in manufacturing sites around the globe.

Though he did not elaborate on the exact nature or cost of the investment, Krupa said it would involve lab expansions.

"We will be specifying the materials," he said. "Even if they go over to China, it will still benefit BASF."

He's also looking to hire two new employees for the company's footwear division, in addition to an employee for BASF's Autofroth specialty formulated foam chemical system and one for general formulating.

Though BASF was showing some of its technology applications for Reebok and ADIDAS, Krupa noted the company has projects with most US footwear companies.

“It’s always tough when you’re working with everybody on different projects,” he said. “It means we have to come up with new designs. We can’t talk about most of it until it becomes public.”

Sponsored by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), NPE2018: The Plastics Show takes place on 7-11 May in Orlando, Florida.