The new, revolutionary Infinity LineThe innovative “To Work For” Line, produced by the Portuguese company AMF, takes advantage of the 3D Bonding technology developed by Simplicity Works: one injection machine is able to join together traditional materials in a single action in order to simultaneously make the upper and sole of a shoe without the need for stitching.
Born from the collaboration between the Portuguese footwear manufacture AMF, known on the market for its “To Work For” brand, and Simplicity Works, creator and owner of the patented 3D Bonding technology, the new line of Infinity safety footwear is made using traditional materials such as leather, but without the presence of seams and without the need to incorporate many of the traditional production phases that have characterised the footwear industry since the beginning. This simple process developed by AMF uses only one DESMA injection machine, unlike other standard production methods.
Albano Fernandes, entrepreneur and CEO of AMF, and Adrián Hernández, CEO of Simplicity Works (SW) met during an important event dedicated to innovation: the annual Desma House Fair. This led to a collaboration that in no time at all gave birth to a revolutionary technology developed specifically for the needs of safety footwear and, consequently to the current production of the Infinity line.
The 3D Bonding technology simplifies the production process and makes it much more effective. Thanks to a special injection process, different materials are joined and bonded together in a few seconds, creating a stable three-dimensional structure without overlapping seams.
This is a very different process from 3D printing, as it uses real materials such as leather. The material is injected into the mould where the various elements of the upper have been positioned on the last, producing “bonded seams” that replace traditional manual seams, making the shoe much more flexible and waterproof.
This revolutionary system has numerous advantages that can change the geography of international footwear production. In fact, 3D Bonding not only allows creating shoes with higher precision and accuracy using a standardised production process, but also requires about 50% less materials than traditional systems. It also results in a 75% reduction in labour and relative costs, and a 30% reduction in energy costs (therefore, greater sustainability).
Not to mention the increase in production rates, flexibility regarding minimum orders, the possibility of achieving total customisation of the product, and finally, faster logistics with consequent reduction in storage costs.
Christian Decker, managing director of Desma, and technological partner of the project as a supplier of rotational moulds and moulds, underlines:
Desma wanted to be a leading player in the footwear industry, so it was natural for the company to join the Simplicity Works project. We enthusiastically embraced the principles behind the project to revolutionise footwear production so as to allow cutting-edge footwear production to return to countries with higher labour costs, while managing to keep prices low.
Klaus Freese, also managing director of Desma, highlights the most relevant aspects of the technology:
I am sure that 3D Bonding will be successful, because it is a production process focused on cost reduction and customisation.
With breathable uppers in different colour options that can be customised, an exchangeable and washable insock for a perfect fit, a cushioning sole that provides comfort and adherence, Kevlar protective insole and a composite toecap, the Infinity line is a full range of non-metallic, water-resistant, ESD, S3 shoes perfect for the airport industry.
The future of footwear is as AMF imagines it to be: a factory that integrates many of the latest trends in 4.0 Industry, including the achievement of a level of product customisation that until now was unthinkable for the industry.
The how and why of 3D Bonding by Simplicity Works
The founder Adrián Hernández leads us to uncover the reasons and vicissitudes that accompanied the birth and development of this innovative production system applied to the footwear world.
Adrián Hernández is a true “inventor”. He holds 14 patents on production processes and tools, developed in the last 5 years. Founder and CEO of Simplicity Works, and the Magus Kids Line and Novospain Design, he spent 25 years working in different areas of the shoe industry: operations, product design, management and marketing, as well as holding important positions at Inescop.
With him we enter the world of 3D Bonding, trying to understand how and why the technology was born.
How do you give shape and life to such a revolutionary idea for footwear production?
“Actually, its a simple idea, but one that can change the world like a tornado. We broke into virgin territory and were surprised that this invention never existed before. As there is no such technology our designs came from scratch. Trial and error, perseverance and creativity were required to give birth to 3D Bonding.”
What were the reactions to your initial idea?
“The traditional industry believed 3D Bonding to be impossible. So we tested the limits of what we understood better than anyone else. The 3D Bonding technology was born after 6 years of development, and with it we created more than 16 patents. Credit must go to our highly motivated team of engineers and our unique know-how.”
Why do you place so much emphasis on returning production to places where labour costs are the highest?
“Because the future of footwear lies in customisation and sustainability. To achieve these two results you need to be able to produce a perfect product, at an affordable cost, with technology that allows a high level of customisation, as well as production and logistics so fast as to allow delivery times in line with current market expectations. All this is possible if the production site is close to the customer and if the technology used allows the maximum reduction in production costs. This is what happens with 3D Bonding.”