“Industria Chimica Mediterranea”, founded in 1952, began its activity producing solvent-based adhesives.
That range was enriched over the years with the introduction of water-based adhesives, which are famously recognized as having a lower impact both on the environment and the health of those who use them.
Another significant date is 1992, when a new line destined for the production of fabrics for toe puffs and counters was introduced.
After 30-odd years, another challenge, and another plant. This time the company is focusing on producing thermoplastic polyurethane films.
“Essentially, we produce TPU films with a thickness ranging between 100 and 800 microns”, Roberto Palmieri, the company’s sales manager, tells us. “The films are destined mainly for footwear and especially to ennoble PU soles. The adavntages deriving from applying these films are multifarious: higher resistance to sole abrasion, simplifying the production process for sole factories, and the possibility of disguising imperfections that can occur during the expansion of polyurethane.”
The result that is obtained, despite the slight increase in costs stemming from the use of films, is such an improvement that, in a short time, the best-known and most demanding brands did not hesitate to adopt it.
Polyurethane is anyway such an eclectic and high-performing polymer that it is used in a transversal way in various production processes:
“In the last few years – says Roberto Palmieri – we have received the most varied requests for collaboration: from furniture to biomedical, from boats to leather goods.”
The company’s strategy is therefore that of broadening its field of action expanding in sectors in which it is not currently active.
“By the end of the year, a new finishing and printing line will be launched which will enable us to further improve the quality of our products, as well as enabling us to explore those markets mentioned above. Our core business remains however footwear, and we expect that the application of TPU films will involve not only sneakers but also running shoes. Indeed, research conducted by Brooks indicates how the application of this expedient also improves the rebound of soles.”
TPU according to Industria Chimica Mediterranea
TPU is the link between thermoplastic polymers and rubbers. With the former, it shares the ability to thermoform, due to heat, even after hardening; with the latter, it shares elasticity. In other words, as far as elastomers are concerned, it is the polymer that has the highest mechanical properties, excellent flexibility in the absence of plasticizers, also in the case of high hardnesses, as well as resistance to low temperatures, light, aging and bacterial attack.
Industria Chimica Mediterranea transforms different types of TPUs: aromatic polyethers and polyesters, for applications that require flexibility, strength and toughness, and aliphatic polyethers and polyesters, for applications that require light stability, transparency and high adhesion.
The manufacturing process, which does not involve dissolution in solvents but heat fusion, makes it a material with a low environmental impact, interesting for all those sectors where a highly wear-resistant, elastic and waterproof support is required.