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Dow Footwear Solutions Introduced at K 2007


Dow deepens relationships with global footwear brand owners.

Düsseldorf, Germany.-Dow Footwear Solutions debuts at the K 2007 after its launch by The Dow Chemical Company as a specialist business unit focusing on delivering new levels of innovation to one of the world’s most demanding consumer markets.

Tony Frencham, general manager of Dow Footwear Solutions, said that although this is a newly formed business unit it is built on more than 20 years as a supplier of innovative polyurethane and polyolefin products to the footwear industry. “The entire Dow offering, including our best-in-class material science capabilities, is now able to be applied to develop solutions that meet the future needs of footwear designers, brand owners, manufacturers and marketers.”

Frencham cited Timberland’s selection of VORALAST™ R Series polyurethane soling system from Dow for its Mion® Spring 2008 line of outdoor footwear as an example of his business’s close relationships with the footwear industry’s leading brand owners.

“Our direct experience of working with the leading brand owners in this fast-changing market shows us that there are three key dynamics we need to address – the appeal of modern footwear, driven by leading-edge fashion; the comfort for the wearer, particularly in the area of sporting and outdoor footwear; and the constant challenge of cost management.”

Building on its traditional capabilities in material science, Dow has developed a global portfolio of raw materials and systems for key components in the footwear industry, from outsole, midsole and footbed through to air bladders and innovative molded components.

Dow Footwear Solutions is forming two technology development platforms for its brand owner partners:

* A family of polyurethane and thermoplastic systems based on the 20-year legacy of VORALAST Soling Systems from Dow.

* A series of successful non-system products including PELLETHANE™ TPU and ENGAGE™ polyolefin elastomers from Dow.

At the K Show, Dow Footwear Solutions is highlighting innovations in three product families:

1. VORALAST R series renewable content polyurethane soling systems

An extension of the successful Dow range of VORALAST soling systems, delivers the performance and exceptional comfort that consumers have come to expect, while addressing their demand for environmentally-friendlier products that contain renewable raw materials. VORALAST R renewable grade series contains natural oil-based polyols, the manufacture of which typically results in less energy consumption and fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the production of conventional petroleum-based polyols.

2. VORALAST G series polyurethane soling system

* VORALAST GS series - A new generation polyurethane system that focuses on athletic and trekking shoes where lightness is the expression of performance. The midsoles produced with the new VORALAST GS soling system are able to deliver low densities in the 270-310 gr/l range whilst being able to comply with stringent in-use performance requirements.

* VORALAST GT series - An enhanced polyester polyurethane system which delivers improved hydrolysis resistance for applications or environmental conditions where high performance and good property retention after humid aging are required.

3. PELLETHANE low-yellow-index grade TPU elastomers

This family of TPUs has been developed to offer excellent color performance through a range of ether and ester grades at various hardness levels. A combination of clarity, reduced need for UV stabilization, abrasion resistance, tensile strength, improved weatherability and easy processability makes the PELLETHANE low-yellow-index TPUs an excellent choice for complex footwear applications.

Tony Frencham described the launch of Dow Footwear Solutions as “another example of how Dow is meeting customer and consumer expectations through solutions that combine first-class end-use performance, excellent processability, and consumer appeal. With product developments such as our VORALAST R series renewable content system, we are also helping deliver on Dow’s 2015 Sustainability Goals that emphasize innovation-driven products with a lasting positive impact on our world.”


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