GENTREX: A New Era of Footwear Manufacturing with Physical Foaming Injection

Date
2024.01.18
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Tien Kang, Trexel and FCS Team working together in Supercritical Fluid Injection project GENTREX

How Tien Kang, Trexel, and FCS are Reshaping the Footwear Industry with GENTREX

Global climate change is accelerating, and the world is taking action to reduce carbon emissions and implement carbon tax policies. International footwear brands are also making commitments to sustainability and setting timelines for achieving their goals. The footwear industry is very interested in using new manufacturing processes to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and increase recycling rates to achieve sustainability goals.

Tien Kang has many years of experience cooperating with International companies. The company knows how to integrate the advantages of its partners with a sincere attitude and quickly build up a professional team to combine the partners’ expertise to develop innovative footwear equipment and provide customers with comprehensive solutions. Tien Kang, together with Trexel from the USA and FCS from Taiwan, developed GENTREX physical foaming injection molding machine to meet customer demand for sustainability. The company helps customers to transition from the traditional chemical foaming manufacturing process to a low-carbon footprint streamlined process, driven by Trexel’s MuCell® physical foaming injection technology, leading to a new era of footwear manufacturing with a focus on environmental protection.

The Power of MuCell® System: Supercritical Foaming Leading the Trend

The MuCell® system was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and later commercialized and further developed by Trexel. In the 40 years since the invention of MuCell® microcellular foam technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, MuCell® microcellular foam technology has been used worldwide in a wide range of industries, including automotive, industrial and consumer. As the exclusive licensee of this technology, Trexel Inc. has been committed to developing and expanding the application of this technology. The MuCell® technology leverages SCF, Supercritical Foaming, mixed with plastic material in an injection molding process, providing customers with lower production costs, more freedom in product design, and a low-carbon footprint, environmentally friendly, and sustainable process including transitioning from non-recyclable thermoset EVA to recyclable thermoplastic TPE. A MuCell® system has been developed to a 5th generation and can secure a more accurate and stable foam process. It creates a dense and uniform network of tiny bubbles in the footwear material. This innovative process eliminates the need for chemical foaming agents and crosslinking agents, and it also offers many advantages:

  • Lighter soles: Bubbles reduce the overall weight of the shoe, improving comfort and performance.
  • Enhanced cushioning: Precisely distributed bubbles provide excellent shock absorption and energy return, making each step smoother.
  • Enhanced durability: The strong structure created by the MuCell® process not only extends the lifespan of the sole, but it also reduces waste generation, promoting sustainability.
  • Environmentally friendly: By eliminating harmful emissions and using recyclable materials, MuCell® technology significantly reduces the environmental carbon footprint of the footwear industry.

Levi Kishbaugh, CEO of Trexel, said that understanding customer needs is the key to success. This success was not achieved overnight. In the past, other shoe machinery manufacturers also tried to integrate the MuCell® technology into their machines, but the result was not very ideal. Why? One key factor is to understand the standards for product properties in different industries, and to carefully consider the technical requirements for different product processes. An open and transparent technical communication is essential.

Mr. Kishbaugh also mentioned that FCS has been a MuCell® technology partner for around 10 years and is one of the leaders in injection molding in Taiwan. With the expertise in physical foaming in injection molding process of FCS and the experience of Tien Kang in shoe making machines and shoe requirements, Trexel was able to fully understand the special and specific shoe applications.  Trexel was therefore able to further optimize the MuCell® process to achieve an efficient and effective Gentrex system.

Patrick Tong, the head of Trexel in Asia, also said that the MuCell® technology has been fully utilized in the application of footwear molding in the GENTREX physical foaming injection molding cooperation. Tien Kang has been producing footwear equipment for over 40 years, and it knows that footwear customers demand lightweight, rebounding, and comfortable performance. Tien Kang can provide feedback for mass production requirements based on footwear manufacturing. Thus helps Trexel to establish a MuCell® technology footwear-specific hardware and software solution. Trexel, FCS and Tien Kang have been working very closely and efficiently as a team, having very open communications and common goal of delivering a fully integrated solution for shoe industry.

This is the advantage of the GENTREX team of Tien Kang, FCS, and Trexel. By combining the years of experience, advanced technical expertise, and strong focus on customer needs of the international team, MuCell® technology is seamlessly integrated into GENTREX. The resources of the cooperation team’s global locations are also integrated to provide customers with faster and easier to communicate local after-sales service, gaining the trust of customers. In just over three years, GENTREX has quickly achieved mass production in the international market.

A Professional Concerto: Teamwork is the Foundation of Success

The development of GENTREX demonstrates the power of collaborative innovation. Each partner contributes unique advantages to the success:

  • Tien Kang: A leading shoe machinery manufacturer with extensive experience in footwear injection molding, specializing in integrating advanced factory solutions.
  • Trexel: A global leader in supercritical fluid foaming technology, providing MuCell® expertise for use in different industry needs.
  • FCS: One of the pioneers in the plastic injection molding industry, with over 50 years of experience in injection molding.

Tien Kang, Trexel, and FCS have formed a powerful team that is constantly breaking new ground and creating a new future for footwear manufacturing.

Beyond the sole: The future of sustainable footwear

GENTREX’s impact extends beyond the sole. This innovative technology represents a major step towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious footwear industry. It has benefits for the entire ecosystem:

  • Reduced dependence on oil-based materials: GENTREX uses recyclable materials and does not require the use of chemical foams, which maximizes the footwear industry’s reliance on fossil
    fuels.
  • Non cross-linking agents: The innovative nature of GENTREX lies in its utilization of non-toxic, non-cross-linking agents. This removes the need for harmful chemicals traditionally used in footwear production, which are detrimental to both environmental and human health.
  • Lower carbon footprint: The energy efficient MuCell® technology significantly reduces carbon emissions throughout the production lifecycle.
  • Improved consumer experience: Lighter, more durable, and more comfortable shoes provide a better experience for consumers and athletes.

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