06/13/2014

www.gupta-verlag.de/thermoplastic-elastomers

Huntsman helps ara to set up new production line in Portugal using Desma equipment

Ahead of the opening of ara's new production line in Portugal, Huntsman's European footwear team helped the company develop a series of polyurethane-based prototypes. The samples were created at Huntsman's footwear development centre in Belgium on the company's Desma RGE 400 four-station roundtable and TPU casting/injection unit - a strategic equipment investment purchased in 2013. With ara planning to install a Desma D522/30 AMIR at its Portuguese plant, the footwear manufacturer opted to work with Huntsman because of its technical resource and its ability to create a replica manufacturing environment. Together, the two companies were able to identify and resolve any potential production issues up front, ensuring that ara could get its new facility up and running quickly and efficiently. Alfons Tremml, Commercial Manager for Footwear at Huntsman Polyurethanes, said: "Europe is once again becoming an attractive footwear manufacturing location - particularly for high-end production projects. China remains the biggest shoe manufacturing country in the world - producing around 13 billion pairs per year - but labour costs there have increased dramatically in recent years. Chinese wage bills are now around four times higher than they were eight years ago. While costs have been creeping up in China, European suppliers to the footwear industry have adopted a more automated approach to manufacturing - narrowing the cost differential between the regions. "At Huntsman we invested in the right equipment at the right time, intensifying our footwear development program to support customers in Europe and across the Indian sub-continent. This move clearly resonated with a number of key players - many of who were looking for a European polyurethanes partner to provide materials but also local technical support on R&D, prototyping and production start up projects.” For over fifty years, ara has been providing its customers with footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. Committed to fashion, fit, and quality, ara is one of Europe's leading producers of women's footwear. The company has factories and offices in six countries. Volker Kolossa, Managing Director of ara Portugal, said: "ara and Huntsman have had a long productive partnership spanning more than twenty years. For specialist knowledge, high quality product, and an unwavering commitment to innovation, there is no better company to work with. Huntsman is our sole supplier of polyurethane and the company's input was invaluable in getting our Portuguese production line up and running.”

www.gupta-verlag.de/thermoplastic-elastomers