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14 Sep 2015

Love your trainers? Collaboration on cutting-edge technology could transform global manufacturing of footwear parts

Image: ©Texon

The materials research team from Loughborough University has partnered with global footwear structural component suppliers Texon to bring significant benefits to the modern footwear industry.

As a world leader in advanced materials and process technology, the University will aim to deliver advanced structural solutions and step-change process innovation in shoemaking with the help of Texon’s experience in product development.

Researchers from the University’s Department of Materials are looking at how Texon can enhance and improve the manufacturing processes currently employed in the modern shoe factory.

It is hoped that the collaboration will lead to further research projects, such as footwear with embedded functionality, including the development of ‘smart’ trainers containing wearable technology, as well as the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques.

Professor Bala Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Advanced Materials and Processing and the Associate Dean for Enterprise at the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering, said: “The footwear industry is highly competitive, with emphasis increasingly being placed on quality, sustainability, efficiency and value. Our research project with Texon has the potential to deliver value added innovations in both the materials and manufacturing technology, as well as extra benefits for the consumer too.”

Steve James, Commercial Director of Texon, said: “The current market requires footwear manufacturers and vendors to be innovative. The next generation of footwear will be driven by the need to be produced faster, more efficiently and more sustainably than ever before if we are to conquer the challenges set by the modern market, and fulfil our responsibilities as a leading global supplier.

“Our relationship with Loughborough University is producing exciting results in advanced structural solutions and we believe it has the potential to make a significant impact on the industry.”

Notes for editors

Article reference number: September News

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. It was 2nd in the 2015 THE Student Experience Survey and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.