3D printing in the footwear industry "

3D printing in the footwear industry

— 17.07.2023

In today's fast-paced world, innovation is the key to success in various industries. One such innovation that has gained significant traction in recent years is 3D printing. This revolutionary technology has transformed the way we approach manufacturing processes, offering new possibilities and efficiencies. In this blog post, we will explore the world of 3D printing, its growing relevance in different industries, and specifically focus on its importance in circular footwear design and on-demand development. Additionally, we will explore Balena’s pioneering efforts in this field, igniting a thought-provoking discussion on sustainable materials for 3D printing and the pivotal role of such materials in waste reduction and product end-of-life solutions. 

What is 3D printing? 

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional objects by layering materials based on a digital model. What sets 3D printing apart from traditional manufacturing methods is its additive nature. Instead of starting with a solid block of material and removing excess material to shape the desired object, 3D printing adds material layer by layer to gradually build the final product. This layer-by-layer approach is made possible by using computer-aided design (CAD) software to create a digital model of the object. The digital model is then sliced into thin cross-sectional layers, and the 3D printer follows these instructions to deposit or fuse materials layer by layer until the object is complete.

The impact of 3D printing extends across numerous industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, and  fashion. Its versatility and ability to create complex geometries make it a valuable tool for designers, engineers, and manufacturers alike. In recent years, 3D printing has gained particular prominence in the footwear industry, revolutionizing the way shoes are designed, developed, and manufactured. The footwear industry stands as one of the primary contributors to pollution, responsible for significant environmental harm caused by mass production, excessive material waste and carbon emissions. In light of these challenges, it has become imperative to delve into the potential of 3D printing as a game-changing solution. By harnessing its personalized and on-demand capabilities, 3D printing holds the key to mitigating these environmental concerns and facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable and circular future. An essential aspect of this combination lies in the thoughtful selection of materials, ensuring a focus on circularity and the end-of-life cycle.

Material selection and performance

Material selection is crucial in the success of 3D printing as it directly impacts the performance and aesthetics of the printed product. Balena’s cutting-edge material BioCir makes for a perfect match.  BioCir is a revolutionary bio-based thermoplastic elastomer, being the first fully flexible, compostable and biodegradable material of its kind and in the printing world.

The utilization of BioCir in the 3D printing manufacturing process offers exceptional environmental benefits. Not only is BioCir highly scalable, allowing for seamless integration across diverse industries, but it also ensures responsible end-of-life management. This is achieved through a biological recycling mechanism (BioCycling), where products crafted with BioCir undergo complete decomposition and biodegradation in industrial compost facilities. By safely returning to the earth, BioCir follows a circular process that is crucial for building a sustainable future.

The significance of material selection cannot be overstated in 3D printing, and the compatibility of BioCir with this technology highlights its immense value. By combining cutting-edge 3D printing capabilities with the innovation of BioCir, Balena is leading the way in promoting circular practices within the footwear industry and beyond. 

In conclusion, the world of 3D printing has revolutionized the footwear industry, and Balena stands as a leader in driving this circular transformation. Join the 3D printing revolution with Balena.

Contact us to learn more about our material and processes.

Back to blog
1 of 3

Want to learn more?

Get in touch with us today →