Founded by Luigi Gazzardi, Tacchificio Villa Cortese now sees the second and third generation engaged in the business: a continuity of principles and values that makes it a leader in the footwear market.
There are currently three companies belonging to the group. Teknostampi S.r.l., specialised in technical moulds for plastic materials, was added to the parent company in 2010, and Villa Cortese Finishing, specialised in paints and finishes for heels and footwear accessories, followed in 2019.
Important investments in Research and Development have also led TVC to play an important role in sustainability issues.
“Environmental, social and economic sustainability is not a declaration of intent for Tacchificio Villa Cortese”, says Silvia Paganini, Commercial and Marketing Director of the company. “It is a philosophy that embraces the entire structure and that translates into a strategy of development. We consider it the highest form of respect towards our stakeholders: starting with the customers, and the territory in which we live. FheelGreen® is a concrete and tangible result of this. It is an alternative material to traditional ABS that is characterised by excellent sustainability while maintaining the mechanical and aesthetic characteristics required of our product.”
Alessandro Paganini, COO of Tacchificio Villa Cortese, talks about it in detail.
What are the main features of this new product?
“FheelGreen® is a moulding material, an alternative to traditional ABS, that requires fewer resources (energy, water, etc.) during production and transport, resulting in lower emissions (GWP) and relevant outputs for sustainable analysis. It is optimised for recycling with no negative impact on performance.
Did you have to compromise on performance?
“No. Our internal tests have shown that FheelGreen® has comparable or even better standard mechanical properties than traditional ABS.
Its predisposition to finishing processes (lacquering, galvanising, bonding), dimensional stability and surface quality is identical.
The regulatory fatigue, impact and pull-out test results are also comparable.”
What areas of sustainability are you focusing on?
“For our company, sustainability – and all related environmental, social or economic projects – is indispensable and essential for development, which does not end with the product.
Sustainability projects are managed in a structured and integrated manner.
As for the materials, numerous solutions, in the characterization phase, are added to the FheelGreen line, such as the recycling solutions, from industrial and post-consumer waste, the hybrid, biobased and biodegradable solutions.
We have also focused our research on finishing materials with improved eco-compatibility such as Camheelion, the covering heel line made together with the 3M multinational company.”
What about the production processes?
“Regarding Fashion and Footwear, the prototyping and industrialization phase can have a huge impact on the environmental footprint due to the numerous tests and samples that are carried out before the final confirmation of the model. For this reason we invested in preventive optimization tools that allow us a preliminary (or final) engineering of the product in a digital environment, thus eliminating the environmental impact that repeated tests can cause. This allows us to further optimize process resources, which today are already 70% satisfied by the use of renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic and geothermal. But the innovation process does not stop there: we are now focusing on process traceability through the use of exponential technologies. A project aimed at continuous efficiency, but also at the integration of the supply chain".
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Key ecological features (compared to traditional ABS, taken from documental research and literature):
o Up to 66% less electricity required in the synthesis phase
o Up to 80% less heat energy required in the synthesis phase
o Up to 99% less waste water production requiring treatment
o 53% to 99% less energy required for primary transport (depending on the manufacturer and means of transport used)
o 55% to 99% less Global Warming Potential relating to primary transport (depending on the manufacturer and means of transport used)
o Reduction of harmful volatile compounds incorporated in the polymer, i.e. an improvement in the processing environment and a reduction in the release of these compounds during operation
o Chemistry optimised for the reuse in production of a higher percentage of industrial or post-consumer waste through mechanical recycling (for which a dedicated recycling flow is currently being set up).