Dow Silicones in 3D-Printed Midsole Cores by ECCO
Dow Silicone Elastomers, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, has developed EVOLV3D™ LC 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber – a new 3D-printable liquid silicone rubber. This high-performance material is a key component for printing midsole cores of customized footwear developed by the Innovation Lab of the Danish footwear company ECCO (ILE) in its pilot project Quant-U.
Combining individual bio-mechanical data and in-store additive manufacturing, EVOLV3D™ LC 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber enables 3D printing midsoles that are used for customized footwear developed by the QUANT-U pilot. The midsoles are customized to the wearer’s foot shape and natural movements – within only a few hours. The first-of-its-kind service will initially be available, at ECCO’s concept store, W-21 Amsterdam, Netherlands.
EVOLV3D™ LC 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber was developed in collaboration with German RepRap GmbH, a leading manufacturer for fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers. The breakthrough new materials technology is perhaps the first Dow solution to be formulated specifically for designers seeking to combine the performance benefits of silicone with the design and processing advantages of their additive manufacturing process.
The customization of the midsoles occurs through a three-step process: First, wearable sensors and 3D foot scanning technology are used to measure the structure and gait of each foot. Next, the individual’s bio-mechanical data are interpreted to digitally configure a customized form of the midsole, to give individual function. Finally, the pattern uses EVOLV3D™ LC 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber to print a customized midsole, which is then inserted into the footwear purchased by the individual.
“Our collaboration with ECCO showcases only one of the infinite opportunities EVOLV3D™ LC 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber is opening up for designers seeking part design flexibility and the processing advantages of additive manufacturing along with the performance benefits of silicone rubber. It is truly a great solution,” said Kris Verschueren, global innovation program manager at Dow. “We were pleased to be a part of this unique project, which promises to improve footwear functionality and comfort for consumers.”