Team Sonnenwagen, a student team from RWTH Aachen and FH Aachen, Germany, is committed to more sustainable mobility using renewable energy. With a self-constructed solar racing car, they once again plan to take part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in October 2023 in Australia. The team also attaches great importance to a more sustainable sports kit. Huafeng, a leader in textile technology, supports this request by providing more sustainably made athletic shoes and shorts for team outfits. For this purpose, Huafeng used a partly bio-based polyurethane (PU) dispersion from Covestro, the main sponsor of Team Sonnenwagen.
The new official team equipment provided by Huafeng features shorts and sports shoes with designs using Huafeng’s newly launched HAPTIC textile coating system, which contains partly bio-based INSQIN PU dispersions from Covestro. In addition, fabrics for the garments and shoes are made by Huafeng based on Cyclone recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) yarns derived from post-consumer plastic bottles. The shoe upper material is made of 100 percent Cyclone rPET, while the shorts consist of 86 percent Cyclone rPET and 14 percent Spandex for ensuring a comfortable fit.
Lina Schwering, Team Manager of Team Sonnenwagen Aachen: “Our new official equipment looks fantastic – and we’re particularly excited about its sustainability benefits! Combined with its excellent performance, it fits well with our vision for a more sustainable mobility future. We’re grateful for the continued support of Cyclone, Huafeng with its HAPTIC products, and Covestro as we pursue this vision.”
The next generation of textile coating
Developed by Huafeng using Covestro’s partly bio-based PU Impranil CQ DLS/1, the HAPTIC Art textile coating system used for the shoes enables especially outstanding aesthetics, improved mechanical performance, and reduced production-related emissions. Thanks to its high solids content and thixotropic properties, the system allows manufacturers to achieve a high coating thickness, making it well-suited for creating coatings with detailed images and sophisticated 3D effects on apparel and footwear.
Images and textures applied using the HAPTIC Art ink system have undergone a series of tests for properties such as flexibility, adhesion, and resistance to hydrolysis, washing, and abrasion. The excellent results demonstrate that the Art ink is particularly suitable for coating on high-performance sports footwear. In recognition of its excellent mechanical properties, Huafeng’s ink coating system recently received the ISPO Best Product Award.
Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Director of Innovation & Creation at Huafeng: “HAPTIC Art ink represents an important expansion of our aesthetic coating capabilities, offering exceptional design versatility along with substantial environmental benefits. For example, the new Team Sonnenwagen shoes deliver savings of 260 g CO2e per pair compared to conventionally manufactured sports shoes*. We look forward to developing even more sustainable solutions that help drive the future of textile coating.”
Toward a more sustainable sportswear industry
With strong environmental credentials, this new coating system can also help meet the growing demand for more sustainable sportswear. Traditionally, sports apparel and footwear have relied heavily on virgin fossil-based PET materials and PU coatings to achieve the required performance, appearance, and durability. However, by combining Huafeng’s textile coating expertise with Covestro’s partly bio-based INSQIN PU technology, Team Sonnenwagen´s new equipment proves that a more sustainable approach is possible.
Dr. Torsten Pohl, Head of Global Textile Coatings at Covestro: “This new textile coating system represents a major step forward in terms of both performance and aesthetics. Covestro’s partly bio-based Impranil CQ PU dispersion plays a major role in the shoe’s strong environmental credentials, contributing around 80 g to the overall CO2e savings*. This technology will enable garment and footwear manufacturers to create products that not only look incredible but also deliver a reduced environmental impact.”