Clarks footwear has been designing and producing footwear for nearly 200 years. The company has turned to British 3D printer manufacturer RPS to help shape future footwear and development. Clarks has been looking at ways they could streamline and cut the costs of producing and manufacturing their footwear. Back in 1998, Clarks invested in 3D printing technology and CAD design to create shoe sole prototypes for footwear developments. Printed with stereolithography technology, the silicon prototype would replace the usual wax model. The silicone mold is then used in the vacuum casting process to cast polyurethane prototype soles.


At least 10 outsoles can be cast from the same molding allowing multiple prototype shoe samples to be created quickly and easily. Clarks can also 3D print soles overnight or during the day to save time and costs. The company sees the benefits of using 3D printing technology in footwear development compared to traditional methods. You can create complex designs, save time and most importantly cut costs. Clarks is looking into more ways to innovate using 3D printing, investing in materials and processes to help take 3D printing into production. They will continue to collaborate with partners such as RPS, utilizing 3D printing to shape the manufacturing of the future. This is another company is going to keep its eyes on.


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