In August 2018, BASF S.E. launched an advanced grade of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), Elastollan® that is expected to improve the production of decorative shoe parts and shoe shanks in high-performance shoes while maintaining superior mechanical properties such as resistance from UV rays. The Elastollan® grade of thermoplastic polyurethanes is compatible with the automation process, allowing parts to be removed easily from the mold, thereby allowing greater design freedom for decorative shoe parts. Further, this product also boasts key features such as easy demolding in the manufacture of shoe shanks, lower injection temperature, shorter cycle time and superior cold flexibility. These features reduce the processing time by about 30%, depending on the thickness and size of individual parts, resulting in lower labor costs. Further, due to its superior rigidity, this grade of elastomers are also suitable for leisure and sports products such as ski binders that connect ski boots to the skis. Elastollan® thermoplastic polyurethanes fall under the performance materials division of the company. The performance materials division generated revenue of US$ 8.93 Bn in 2017.
BASF S.E. is one of the key players operating in the field of elastomers and with this product launch, the market position of BASF S.E. in this industry is expected to strengthen further in the coming years. This grade of elastomers finds fair application in the consumer goods industry, especially in the manufacturing of high- end sports shoes and ski boots. Robust growth of the athletic footwear industry which is majorly driven by the rising demand for high-end sports shoes is expected to drive the demand for BASF S.E.’s range of thermoplastic polyurethane in the coming years. Moreover, rising production of vehicles is also expected to drive the demand for this product in the coming years. Elastollan® thermoplastic polyurethane is suitable for use indoor handles, liner mats and gear knobs.
Further, collaborations with distributors of performance materials will also help BASF S.E. to improve the penetration rate of this product across major countries, thereby allowing the company to address a broader consumer base and strengthen its position in the market.