Hi there! I’m de-lurking to ask if anyone has heard about or has experience with a “do it all” footwear machine by a German company called Desma. I’ve been a footwear line/product developer in for almost 10 years. I’ve heard of anything like it until now. The company I’m interviewing with is planning to use one for production. Supposedly it assembles a large number of pairs in 7 minutes without using cement. I admit that I’m highly skeptical about it. I came home from the interview and immediately put Google to work.
The website doesn’t supply much information but my prospective employer claims to have seen it in action. I figured if anyone knew, it would be someone on this board. I’m posting a link to the website. If I’m not allowed to do this, please let me know and I will remove it asap.
I’ve never seen or worked with one but from my understanding the desma process is direct pu injection for outsoles. It has nothing to do with the upper or other assembly processes. Used a lot by Ecco I believe.
We worked with one of those machines making step-in snowboard boots with Technica. The first one I saw was in a huge former state run shoe factory in Slovakia making massive quantities of original model Addidas shoes that made a comeback in the mid 90’s. They had pulled the original tools out after being shelved for decades.
The upper gets fit over a last, the mold closes around it and a double injection is made. Can be a solid injection combined with a foamed material. In our case a rubber sole was sealed into the mold and the “foam” injected between the sewn upper and the contact sole, also encasing a metal frame for binding connection, then the flange between trimmed off.
Years later a sample is in my office, the foam has really deteriorated over time it has totally lost all elasticity and crumbles like sand with a fingernail.
It is a cool process, but the slow rate of cure requires a turntable of multiple molds in order to make commercial sense. Great for committing to runs of tens or hundreds of thousands of pairs, not so great for developing something that needs to be iterated and evolved.
Thanks for the insight. The company in question makes boots for military, police, firefighters and EMTs. The outsoles are rubber. Do you think the outsoles will last long after being worn 8 to 10 hours a day? I’d like to develop boots/shoes that will last for a good 8 months. The police, firemen and EMT’s pay out of pocket for boots. Their shoes come into contact with many toxic liquids, blood, etc. on a daily basis. I can’t tell this company not to use the machines, my prospective boss thinks this machine is the best invention since sliced bread.
One think I liked about the company is its commitment to making quality products. As I mentioned before, I’m skeptical of any shortcuts. I do appreciate new technology but can’t help wondering if the Desma process is too good to be true.