At the Festival of Arts in Edinburgh in August this year, Covestro showcased the world’s first soft-touch cheongsam made using 3D printing, marking the latest attempt to push the boundaries of 3D printing in commercialization and mass production with Covestro’s expertise in material and technology.
The traditional Chinese women’s garment is made of 100% flexible TPU from Covestro, giving designers more design freedom to unleash increased possibilities with 3D printing. It can be customized in multiple aspects like pattern and texture, as well as material properties, shape and the size.
“By cooperating with industry leaders like Covestro, we are exploring all possibilities in our efforts to evolve the fashion industry. With the world’s first 3D-printed soft-touch cheongsam, printing technology is shifting from the era of rigid materials to that of wearable materials. It also opens up the possibility of serial production of customer-specific products in the near future,” says Legend Li, Executive Vice Dean of the Shanghai International College for Fashion and Innovation at Donghua University.
From November 18 to 20 at the ChinaCoat 2019 trade fair at the Shanghai New International Expo Center, Covestro is presenting the 3D printed cheongsam, along with other additive manufacturing program developments at booth B05 in Hall W2.
Trendy 3D printed footwear
Also on show is a pair of 3D printed shoes featuring an extremely light-weight, soft-touch and comfortable design, on top of being highly customizable.
In response to rising demands in the Asia market for tailor-made footwear with greater comfort and more design freedom, Covestro’s 3D printing laboratory in Shanghai has been strengthening its testing, analysis and benchmark capabilities for the footwear industry in Asia Pacific.
3D printing technology opens up freedom in creative design and allows complex structures with a seamless appearance. With this technology, we can create fully functioning shoes in the size that perfectly fits each individual consumer. It also presents the opportunity to individuals, designers and artists to customize their shoes within only the limits of their imagination.
Customers’ feet will be scanned so each shoe can be designed to provide greater flexibility by following natural movement of the foot. 3D printed materials also provide greater elongation and are incredibly light-weight, providing the utmost personalized comfort.
Unlike traditional materials, which experience frictional resistance between the interlaced (warp and weft) yarns, 3D printed materials have greater potential for precision-tuned containment due to fused intersections, leading to lighter and more breathable products. Moreover, 3D printing technology causes less material consumption and enables one-piece production through its simplified production process, thus reducing production and labor costs.
The TPU used in 3D printing produces less waste, has superior wearability and is both weather resistance and color fast; furthermore it can be recycled and reused, leading to impressive sustainability impact. These characteristics create huge value in the global textiles industry, where sustainability is increasingly important in facing the enormous challenge of reducing material waste and cutting emissions.
“Combining our know-how in footwear materials with application development capability in 3D printing will continue to strengthen our collaboration with leading players in the value chain, pushing forward the commercialization of 3D printing technology in this area,” said Yvonne Wang, Business Development Manager for Additive Manufacturing in Asia Pacific, Covestro.
New era of digital manufacturing
Covestro’s 3D printing laboratory in Shanghai aims to serve customers and partners in Asia Pacific with a comprehensive range of filaments, powders and liquid resins for all common 3D printing methods. The company has been working diligently to speed up commercialization and serial production development for the application of 3D printing technology.
Covestro products share a variety of commonalities, like toughness, heat resistance as well as transparency, color fastness and flexibility. Each of these traits are important in new applications for 3D printing.
“With our expertise and knowledge in materials, and in close partnership with leading players along the value chain, we aim to lead in the new era of digital manufacturing to facilitate the commercialization of new 3D printing applications,” says Wang.