“Knowing how to create the best conditions to keep the air inside the material and to expel the air trapped on the edges of the mould: this is the essence of today’s mould maker’s work”, echoes Giorgio Zago, son of the founder and current CEO of the company.
It is all about burrs and bubbles. Two generations with over 60 years of experience sum up the challenge of the mould industry in the third millennium with these two words. They agree: “They make the difference in the footwear sector. Full stop.”
If they say so, you have to believe it. They are among the most important producers of footwear moulds in the world as their mould production for the footwear industry is exported worldwide: 50% on the European market, 30% in the rest of the world and 20% in Italy.
Footwear is a vast and constantly evolving industrial sector. New ideas are born, developed and implemented every day. Who is part of this industry sticks to few good parameters that can be summed up with: high-quality products. Only in this way can the footwear manufacturer guarantee customer satisfaction: they will enjoy a healthy, safe and comfortable walk. Wherever they are: at work, in the mountains, on the street or in a sports arena.
Giorgio Zago knows it very well. He represents the second generation at the helm of the company that has been creating and producing moulds since 1958:
* SAFETY – for professional footwear used in professional contexts that require a high degree of foot protection (construction sites, engineering and metallurgic industry, mining industry, oil platforms, military industry, army)
* TREKKING – for footwear designed for hiking on rough surfaces
* CASUAL – for shoes made for urban contexts
* OUTDOOR – for technical footwear designed for outdoor sports whose design focuses more on stability, cushioning, adherence to the ground and waterproofness
Over more than 60 years, Zago Moulds Solutions has specialized in producing moulds for direct injection of polyurethanes, which is still the core business of the company.
Isn’t polyurethane a more expensive raw material than rubber and PVC, though?
“Of course – explains the current CEO, Giorgio Zago – but it is lighter and more comfortable, and these are two essential features when producing high-quality footwear.”
Polyurethane is a versatile material. It provides footwear with excellent properties. One of these is allowing the final product to weigh very little. Polyurethane is indeed among the lightest materials used to produce soles – second only to EVA. At the molecular level, the reduced weight is due to the gas that remains trapped inside the material in the form of air bubbles, when injecting the polyurethane foam. So, on the one hand, bubbles are one of the essential features that guarantee a performing product, on the other hand, they are perceived as a defect. The challenge: making them less noticeable on the sole’s surface.
“To do this, a broad and in-depth study of the flash in the design phase is necessary”, emphasizes Giorgio Zago. Is that all? “No, he answers with a smile, the rest is mastery and company know-how”. Which is an elegant way of changing topic.
Elio Zago explained metaphorically how and why bubbles are formed when polyurethane is injected. As regards the footwear industry, he is a pioneer in the use of polyurethane for moulds.
The similarity fits – it is appropriate to say – perfectly. The long road that used to separate the clay model from the majestic bronze statue is the same that today a mould produced in Zago Moulds Solutions plant has to follow: research, study and dedication. For Zago Moulds, this road has been paved flawlessly by the experience of two generations and over sixty years of history.