(19)
(11)EP 3 446 588 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/47

(21)Application number: 18200590.0

(22)Date of filing:  23.05.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A43B 13/04  (2006.01)
B29D 35/12  (2010.01)
A43B 13/12  (2006.01)
B29D 35/14  (2010.01)

(54)

PRE-MANUFACTURED TPU ARTICLE AND METHOD FOR ITS MANUFACTURE

VORGEFERTIGTER TPU-GEGENSTAND UND VERFAHREN ZUR HERSTELLUNG

ARTICLE DE TPU PRÉFABRIQUÉ ET PROCÉDÉ DE FABRICATION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 24.05.2016 DE 102016209046

(43)Date of publication of application:
27.02.2019 Bulletin 2019/09

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
17172479.2 / 3248493

(73)Proprietor: adidas AG
91074 Herzogenaurach (DE)

(72)Inventors:
  • HOLMES, Christopher Edward
    91074 Herzogenaurach (DE)
  • KERLING, Sabrina
    91074 Herzogenaurach (DE)
  • LE, Huu Minh Tru
    91074 Herzogenaurach (DE)

(74)Representative: Wegner, Hans 
Bardehle Pagenberg Partnerschaft mbB Patentanwälte, Rechtsanwälte Prinzregentenplatz 7
81675 München
81675 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2007/082838
JP-A- H08 239 570
WO-A1-2011/125540
US-A1- 2015 366 289
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    1. Technical Field



    [0001] The present invention relates to a pre-manufactured article comprising thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), in particular an outsole, a method for producing a pre-manufactured TPU article, and use of a pre-manufactured TPU article for the manufacture of a shoe sole.

    2. Prior Art



    [0002] The conventional manufacture of shoe soles, in particular of sport shoes, generally involves processing various plastic components. Recently, it has become known to produce shoe soles or parts thereof such as midsoles from particles of expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (eTPU). Such particle midsoles can be bonded to standard outsoles made of rubber or any other material using adhesives. However, the use of adhesives is disadvantageous for the environment and can be harmful for workers due to solvents or other substances contained in such adhesives. Moreover, it also involves a considerable amount of manual labor.

    [0003] One option to avoid or at least reduce the use of adhesives is to provide shoe soles from plastic components which can be molded together by applying steam or other energy transferring media. Such techniques are for example disclosed in EP 2 649 896 A2, WO 2005/066250 A1, WO 2012/065926 A1, DE 10 2011 108 744 A1, and EP 2 984 956 A1. Further prior art in this regard is disclosed in EP 2 767 181 A1, WO 2007/082838 A1, WO 2008/087078 A1, WO 2011/125540 A1, and US 2015/366289 A1.

    [0004] However, at present it is extremely difficult, if not almost impossible, to bond a midsole made from expanded TPU particles to a rubber outsole without involving adhesives. Therefore, one approach is to use a different outsole material which is more compatible with the material of the expanded TPU particles of the midsole, such as (non-expanded) TPU. When trying to connect a TPU outsole during molding with the expanded TPU particles, the TPU of the outsole may, however, start to melt, deform and / or bleed, which leads to unsatisfactory products.

    [0005] It is therefore a problem underlying the present invention to overcome the above disadvantages when manufacturing a shoe sole.

    3. Summary of the invention



    [0006] The above problem is at least partly solved by the subject matter of the independent claims of the present invention.

    [0007] The invention provides a pre-manufactured article comprising TPU material according to claim 1 and claim 2, a method for producing a pre-manufactured TPU article according to claim 9 and claim 10, and use of a pre-manufactured TPU article for the manufacture of a shoe sole according to claim 14. Preferred embodiments are defined in the dependent claims.

    [0008] A method for the manufacture of a shoe sole comprises the following steps:
    1. a. loading a pre-manufactured article comprising thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material according to the invention into a mold;
    2. b. loading particles of an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (eTPU) material into said mold; and
    3. c. connecting the particles with each other and to the pre-manufactured TPU article by providing an interconnecting medium.


    [0009] The inventors of the present invention have surprisingly found that an outsole material which comprises, in addition to TPU, an additive which increases the viscosity, may lead to an increase of the viscosity of the TPU material of the article. The inventors of the present invention have surprisingly further found that an outsole material which has been subjected to an annealing step may lead to an increase of the melting onset temperature. As a result there is less or even no melting / deforming / bleeding during or after molding the TPU article to a midsole made from expanded TPU (eTPU) particles.

    [0010] It will be apparent to the skilled person that whilst the terms melting / deforming / bleeding are distinct terms they are being interchangeably used in the context of this application to describe an effect which could be attributable, wholly or in part, to each of the mechanisms.

    [0011] The pre-manufactured article can be an outsole but also other articles such as reinforcing TPU components for the midsole are possible.

    [0012] The additive can be provided during injection molding of the pre-manufactured TPU article.

    [0013] The pre-manufactured TPU article comprises the additive in an amount of 1 to 15 % by weight, in particular 1 to 10 % by weight, preferably 1 to 5 % by weight, more preferably 2 to 3 % by weight, based on 100 % by weight of the TPU material of the pre-manufactured TPU article.

    [0014] The additive can increase the viscosity to such an extent that a deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article is avoided, when the particles and the pre-manufactured article are connected in step c. In particular, when the particles and the pre-manufactured article are connected in step c, a processing temperature is provided by the interconnecting medium. If the melting onset temperature of the pre-manufactured TPU article is low enough, relative to the provided processing temperature, then undesirable deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article will occur. Thus, when the processing temperature is sufficient to cause melting of the pre-manufactured TPU article the additive increases the viscosity to such an extent that undesirable deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article is avoided, when the particles and the pre-manufactured article are connected in step c.

    [0015] In a preferred embodiment, the annealing step has been carried out to increase the melting onset temperature to such an extent that an undesirable deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article is avoided, when the particles and the pre-manufactured article are connected in step c. Preferably, the melting onset temperature is increased by 5 to 50 °C, in particular 10 to 30 °C, or by 5 to 20 °C.

    [0016] The annealing step has been carried out at a temperature in the range of from 120 to 140 °C and for a time period of from 2 to 20 hours, in particular from 5 to 17 hours.

    [0017] It is possible that the interconnecting medium comprises one or more of the following: pressurized steam, an electromagnetic radiation, and a gaseous bonding agent. In exemplary embodiments, during step c. the particles of the expanded TPU material are heated by the interconnecting medium to a temperature between the melting onset temperature and the peak melting point of the expanded TPU material. For example, during step c. the particles of the expanded TPU are heated up to a range of from 100 °C to 5 °C below the melting point of the expanded TPU material, in particular from 80 °C to 5 °C below the melting point of the expanded TPU material, preferably from 60 °C to 5 °C below the melting point of the expanded TPU material, more preferably from 40 °C to 5 °C below the melting point of the expanded TPU material.

    [0018] The additive may comprise an isocyanate group.

    [0019] A further aspect concerns a sole obtainable or produced by any of the methods described above. Another aspect concerns a shoe, in particular a sports shoe, with a sole as described above. The invention concerns a pre-manufactured article, for example, an outsole, comprising TPU material and an additive increasing the viscosity of the TPU material. Furthermore, the invention concerns a pre-manufactured article, for example, an outsole, comprising TPU material, wherein the TPU material has been subjected to at least one annealing step at a temperature in the range of from 120 to 140 °C and for a time period of from 2 to 20 hours.

    [0020] The invention is further described in the following description, the embodiments, examples, the figures and the claims.

    4. Brief description of the figures



    [0021] The figures show:
    Fig. 1:
    a schematic representation of a typical set up of an embodiment of the present invention.
    Fig. 2:
    an underside of a shoe sole, wherein an outsole has been molded to a midsole made from expanded TPU particles, wherein the outsole comprises TPU without an additive to increase the viscosity.
    Fig. 3:
    an underside of a shoe sole, wherein an outsole has been molded to a midsole made from expanded TPU particles, wherein the outsole comprises TPU and an additive to increase the viscosity.
    Fig. 4:
    a shoe sole, wherein an outsole has been molded to a midsole made from expanded TPU particles, wherein the outsole comprises TPU and has not been annealed, wherein the upper image shows an underside of the sole and the lower image shows a cross-section of the sole.
    Fig. 5:
    a shoe sole, wherein an outsole has been molded to a midsole made from expanded TPU particles, wherein the outsole comprises TPU and has been annealed, wherein the upper image shows an underside of the sole and the lower image shows a cross-section of the sole.

    5. Detailed description of preferred embodiments



    [0022] The polymer used for the production of both, of the pre-manufactured article and the expanded polymer particles, comprises a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Generally, polyurethanes are produced by reaction of multifunctional isocyanates with polyols. Thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) are specific polyurethanes, which are thermoplastic and contain linear segmented block copolymers including hard and soft segments. TPU can contain the reaction products of a polyester polyol or polyether polyol with an isocyanate component. TPUs are well known in the art and commercially available on the market. TPU can be, for example, injection-molded to produce manufactured articles. TPUs are also known and available on the market in form of expanded or foamed TPU particles, which can be further processed by, for example, molded to produce manufactured articles.

    [0023] The pre-manufactured article of the invention can be produced from any TPU material by any method known in the art. Preferably, the article is produced by melting TPU, for example, melting TPU, within the plasticising unit of an injection molding machine, and then injecting the material into a mold to form the pre-manufactured article. However, other molding techniques are possible.

    [0024] The particles of expanded TPU (eTPU) used in the methods described above can be produced from any TPU material by any method known in the art for producing expanded polymer particles.

    [0025] According to one embodiment of the invention, an additive increasing the viscosity is added to the material of the TPU article. This may be done before or during melting of the TPU. Other additives may be added as well to the TPU, either before or during melting. The additive increasing the viscosity can be mixed with the TPU before injection molding, for example, by a dry blended masterbatch. Even the additive manufacture of the TPU article is also conceivable.

    [0026] The additive increasing the viscosity can be a TPU which contains in an embodiment isocyanate groups. The additive increasing the viscosity can be a crosslinking additive, one such example being X-Flex® V2909. Further examples for a suitable additive are Elastollan X-Flex®, X-Flex® V2905, all being obtainable from BASF. In further embodiments, the additive comprises an organosilicon compound or group.

    [0027] The additive is used in amounts of 1 to 15 % by weight, for example 1 to 10 % by weight, or 1 to 5 % by weight, based on 100 % by weight of the TPU material. In exemplary embodiments, the additive is used in amounts from 1 to 4 % by weight, in particular 2 to 3 % by weight, for example, 1 % by weight, 2 % by weight, 3% by weight, 4% by weight or 5% by weight, based on 100 % by weight of the TPU material.

    [0028] In another embodiment, the TPU material of the pre-manufactured article has been annealed. The annealing can be carried out in at least one annealing step, for example, one or two annealing steps. It is also possible, and in some cases advantages, to perform a multi-stage annealing process, wherein multiple annealing steps are performed and the temperature is increased with each annealing step. The annealing step(s) increase the melting onset temperature, in particular to such an extent that a deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article is avoided, when the particles of the expanded TPU material and the pre-manufactured article are connected in step c.

    [0029] The annealing can be carried out by techniques known in the art. For example, the pre-manufactured article can be annealed in a circulation oven which permits adjusting of the desired temperatures and time periods. Preferably, the annealing increases the melting onset temperature to such an extent that undesirable deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article is avoided or that there is essentially no deformation of the pre-manufactured TPU article. The annealing step is carried out at a temperature in the range of from 120 to 140 °C, more preferably from 120 to 130 °C, or from 130 to 140 °C. The annealing step is carried out for a time period of from 2 to 20 hours, in particular from 3 to 19 hours, preferably from 5 to 17 hours, more preferably from 10 to 17 hours, most preferably from 15 to 17 hours.

    [0030] As mentioned above, the present invention is particularly applicable for the manufacture of shoe soles and further outsoles or outsole elements, which are to be connected to a midsole made from particles of expanded eTPU. Such a shoe sole with an outsole element is exemplary shown in Fig. 1, which is explained in more detail below. The outsole element shown in Fig. 1 with reference numeral 30 is an outsole comprising an additive to increase the viscosity. Such an outsole element 30 is further described in an exemplary embodiment in Figure 3. The outsole element shown in Fig. 1 with reference numeral 50 is an outsole which has been annealed according to one embodiment of the invention. Such an outsole element 50 is further described in an exemplary embodiment in Figure 5.

    [0031] As schematically presented in Fig. 1, when molding the pre-manufactured article, for example, an outsole element 30 or 50, to the expanded TPU particles 10 the outsole element 30 or 50 is loaded into a mold 1. This is followed by loading of the particles 10 into the mold 1. Upon application of an energy transferring medium such as steam (not shown in Fig. 1) the particles 10 can be connected with and to each other and to the outsole element 30 or 50 in a single process step. Due to the additive added to the TPU material or due to the annealing step(s), the outsole element 30 and 50, is not adversely affected by the elevated temperatures and / or the pressure within the mold 1 during molding. In particular fine structures, as they are typically provided on an outsole element, do not deform or start to melt during the molding process. As a result, a complete shoe sole comprising a midsole from molded particles of expanded eTPU and a high-quality outsole can be obtained.

    [0032] The advantages of the embodiment of the present invention using the additive are illustrated by a comparison of Figs. 2 and 3 and further described in Examples 1 and 2. Fig. 2 shows a bottom view of a shoe sole with a grid-like outsole 35 having a plurality of openings 31. The outsole has been processed as explained above with reference to Fig. 1, wherein the TPU material of the outsole 35 does not contain the additive of the present invention. As can be seen, the borders of the openings 31 are ill-defined, as the material from the outsole 35 has started to "bleed" forming a plurality of little protrusions into the openings 31.

    [0033] Fig. 3 shows an embodiment, wherein the additive has been added to the TPU material of the outsole 30. As can be seen, there is no bleeding and the borders of each opening 31 are well defined. This illustrates the significant contribution of the present invention to the manufacture of high-quality shoe soles.

    [0034] The advantages of the other embodiment of the present invention using the annealing step are illustrated by a comparison of Figs. 4 and 5. Fig. 4 shows an outsole element 55 which has not been annealed. Fig. 5 shows an outsole element 50 which has been annealed at 130 °C for 17 hours. The advantages shown are the same as described above for a comparison of Figs. 2 and 3. Figs. 4 and 5 are further described in Example 3.

    [0035] The invention is further illustrated by means of the following examples that show embodiments but do not limit the invention.

    6. Examples


    Example 1



    [0036] As base polymer, a TPU material was used. The TPU used was Elastollan 1160A 10P obtainable from BASF. As an additive, X-Flex V2909 was used which is also obtainable from BASF. The additive was used in amounts of 0, 2, 3, 4 and 5 % by weight.

    [0037] The base polymer and the additive were dry blended and then fed to an injection molding machine to produce the outsole. The outsole was laid into a mold, as shown in Fig. 1, then expanded TPU particles were filled into mold onto the outsole. After having completed the filling step, the mold was closed and steam molding was carried out. Finally, the mold was opened and the finished shoe sole released.

    Example 2



    [0038] As base polymer, a TPU material was used. The TPU used was Elastollan SP 9324, obtainable from BASF. As an additive, X-Flex V2909 and X-Flex V2881-1 were used, both of which are also obtainable from BASF. The additive was used in amounts of 0%, 1% X-Flex V2881-1, 5% X-Flex V2909.

    [0039] The base polymer and the additive were dry blended and then fed to an injection molding machine to produce the outsole. The outsole was laid into a mold, as shown in Fig. 1, then expanded TPU particles were filled into mold onto the outsole. After having completed the filling step, the mold was closed and steam molding was carried out. Finally, the mold was opened and the finished shoe sole released. Fig. 3 shows an underside and a cross-section of the shoe sole. In comparison, Fig. 2 shows a shoe sole with an outsole which does not contain an additive.

    Example 3



    [0040] As base polymer, a TPU material was used. The TPU used was Elastollan 1160A 10P obtainable from BASF. The base polymer was fed to an injection molding apparatus to produce the outsole. The outsole was annealed in a circulation oven at 130 °C for 17 hours.

    [0041] The annealed outsole was laid into a mold, as shown in Fig. 1, then expanded TPU particles were filled into mold onto the outsole. After having completed the filling step, the mold was closed and steam molding was carried out. Finally, the mold was opened and the finished shoe sole released. Fig. 5 shows an underside and a cross-section of the shoe sole. In comparison, Fig. 4 shows a shoe sole with an outsole which has not been annealed.


    Claims

    1. Pre-manufactured article (30) comprising TPU material and an additive to increase the viscosity of the material of the pre-manufactured TPU article (30), in an amount of 1 to 15 % by weight, based on 100 % by weight of the TPU material of the pre-manufactured article, wherein the additive comprises an isocyanate group, an organosilicon group, and/or an organosilicon compound.
     
    2. Pre-manufactured article (50) comprising TPU material, wherein the material of the pre-manufactured TPU article (50) has been subjected to at least one annealing step at a temperature in the range of from 120 to 140°C and for a time period of from 2 to 20 hours, wherein the pre-manufactured article (50) is produced by melting TPU within the plasticising unit of an injection molding machine, and then injecting the material into a mold to form the pre-manufactured article.
     
    3. Pre-manufactured article (30) according to claim 1, produced by melting TPU within the plasticising unit of an injection molding machine, and then injecting the material into a mold to form the pre-manufactured article.
     
    4. Pre- manufactured article (30) according claim 1 or 3, wherein the pre-manufactured TPU article (30) comprises the additive in an amount of 1 to 10 % by weight, preferably 1 to 5 % by weight, more preferably 1 to 4 % by weight, most preferably 2 to 3 % by weight, based on 100 % by weight of the TPU material of the pre-manufactured TPU article (30).
     
    5. Pre-manufactured article (50) according to claim 2, wherein the annealing step has been carried out for a time period of from 5 to 17 hours.
     
    6. Pre-manufactured article (50) according to claim 2 or 5, wherein the melting onset temperature is increased by 5 to 50 °C, in particular by 10 to 30 °C, or by 5 to 20 °C.
     
    7. Pre-manufactured article (30) according to any one of claims 1, 3 and 4, wherein the additive is TPU comprising an isocyanate group.
     
    8. Pre-manufactured article (30, 50) according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the pre-manufactured TPU article (30, 50) is an outsole.
     
    9. Method for producing a pre-manufactured TPU article (30) according to any of claims 1, 3, 4 or 7, wherein the method comprises melting TPU within the plasticising unit of an injection molding machine, and then injecting the material into a mold to form the pre-manufactured article (30), wherein an additive to increase the viscosity of the material of the pre-manufactured TPU article is added to the material before or during melting of the TPU or is provided during the injection molding, in an amount of 1 to 15 % by weight based on 100 % by weight of the TPU material of the pre-manufactured article, wherein the additive comprises an isocyanate group, an organosilicon group, and/or an organosilicon compound.
     
    10. Method for producing a pre-manufactured TPU article (50) according to any of claims 2, 5 or 6, wherein the method comprises melting TPU within the plasticising unit of an injection molding machine, and then injecting the material into a mold to form the pre-manufactured article (50), wherein the material of the pre-manufactured TPU article (50) is subjected to at least one annealing step at a temperature in the range of from 120 to 140 °C and for a time period of from 2 to 20 hours.
     
    11. Method according to claim 10, wherein the annealing step has been carried out at a temperature in the range of from 120 to 130 °C.
     
    12. Method according to claim 10, wherein the annealing step has been carried out at a temperature in the range of from 130 to 140 °C.
     
    13. Method according to any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein the annealing step has been carried out for a time period of from 3 to 19 hours, preferably from 5 to 17 hours, more preferably from 10 to 17 hours, most preferably from 15 to 17 hours.
     
    14. Use of a pre-manufactured TPU article (30, 50) according to any one of claims 1 to 8 for the manufacture of a shoe sole.
     
    15. Use according to claim 14, wherein the pre-manufactured TPU article (30, 50) is an outsole.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (30), umfassend TPU-Material und ein Additiv zur Erhöhung der Viskosität des Materials des vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (30) in einer Menge von 1 bis 15 Gewichts-%, bezogen auf 100 Gewichts-% des TPU-Materials des vorgefertigten Gegenstands, wobei das Additiv eine Isocyanatgruppe, eine Organosiliciumgruppe und/oder eine Organosiliciumverbindung umfasst.
     
    2. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (50), umfassend TPU-Material, wobei das Material des vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (50) wenigstens einem Warmbehandlungsschritt bzw. Annealing-Schritt bei einer Temperatur in dem Bereich von 120 bis 140°C und für eine Zeitdauer von 2 bis 20 Stunden unterworfen worden ist, wobei der vorgefertigte Gegenstand (50) durch Schmelzen von TPU innerhalb der Plastifiziereinheit einer Spritzgussmaschine und anschließendes Einspritzen des Materials in eine Form, um den vorgefertigten Gegenstand zu bilden, hergestellt ist.
     
    3. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (30) gemäß Anspruch 1, hergestellt durch Schmelzen von TPU innerhalb der Plastifiziereinheit einer Spritzgussmaschine und anschließendes Einspritzen des Materials in eine Form, um den vorgefertigten Gegenstand zu bilden.
     
    4. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (30) gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 3, wobei der vorgefertigte TPU-Gegenstand (30) das Additiv in einer Menge von 1 bis 10 Gewichts-%, vorzugsweise 1 bis 5 Gewichts-%, stärker bevorzugt 1 bis 4 Gewichts-%, am meisten bevorzugt 2 bis 3 Gewichts-%, bezogen auf 100 Gewichts-% des TPU-Materials des vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (30), umfasst.
     
    5. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (50) gemäß Anspruch 2, wobei der Warmbehandlungsschritt für eine Zeitdauer von 5 bis 17 Stunden durchgeführt worden ist.
     
    6. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (50) gemäß Anspruch 2 oder 5, wobei die Temperatur des Beginns des Schmelzens um 5 bis 50°C, insbesondere um 10 bis 30°C oder um 5 bis 20°C erhöht ist.
     
    7. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (30) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1, 3 und 4, wobei das Additiv eine Isocyanatgruppe umfassendes TPU ist.
     
    8. Vorgefertigter Gegenstand (30, 50) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei der vorgefertigte TPU-Gegenstand (30, 50) eine Außensohle ist.
     
    9. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (30) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1, 3, 4 oder 7, wobei das Verfahren ein Schmelzen von TPU innerhalb der Plastifiziereinheit einer Spritzgussmaschine und anschließendes Einspritzen des Materials in eine Form, um den vorgefertigten Gegenstand (30) zu bilden, umfasst, wobei ein Additiv zur Erhöhung der Viskosität des Materials des vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands dem Material in einer Menge von 1 bis 15 Gewichts-%, bezogen auf 100 Gewichts-% des TPU-Materials des vorgefertigten Gegenstands, vor oder während Schmelzen des TPU zugefügt wird oder während des Spritzgießens bereitgestellt wird, wobei das Additiv eine Isocyanatgruppe, eine Organosiliciumgruppe und/oder eine Organosiliciumverbindung umfasst.
     
    10. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (50) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 2,5 oder 6, wobei das Verfahren ein Schmelzen von TPU innerhalb der Plastifiziereinheit einer Spritzgussmaschine und anschließendes Einspritzen des Materials in eine Form, um den vorgefertigten Gegenstand (50) zu bilden, umfasst, wobei das Material des vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (50) wenigstens einem Warmbehandlungsschritt bzw. Annealing-Schritt bei einer Temperatur in dem Bereich von 120 bis 140°C und für eine Zeitdauer von 2 bis 20 Stunden unterworfen wird.
     
    11. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 10, wobei der Warmbehandlungsschritt bei einer Temperatur in dem Bereich von 120 bis 130°C durchgeführt worden ist.
     
    12. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 10, wobei der Warmbehandlungsschritt bei einer Temperatur in dem Bereich von 130 bis 140°C durchgeführt worden ist.
     
    13. Verfahren gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 10 bis 12, wobei der Warmbehandlungsschritt für eine Zeitdauer von 3 bis 19 Stunden, bevorzugt von 5 bis 17 Stunden, stärker bevorzugt von 10 bis 17 Stunden, am meisten bevorzugt von 15 bis 17 Stunden, durchgeführt worden ist.
     
    14. Verwendung eines vorgefertigten TPU-Gegenstands (30, 50) gemäß irgendeinem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, zur Herstellung einer Schuhsohle.
     
    15. Verwendung gemäß Anspruch 14, wobei der vorgefertigte TPU-Gegenstand (30, 50) eine Außensohle ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Article pré-manufacturé (30) comprenant un matériau TPU et un additif pour augmenter la viscosité du matériau de l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30), dans une proportion de 1 à 15 % en poids, sur la base de 100 % en poids du matériau TPU de l'article pré-manufacturé, dans lequel l'additif comprend un groupe isocyanate, un groupe organosilicium, et/ou un composé d'organosilicium.
     
    2. Article pré-manufacturé (50) comprenant un matériau TPU, dans lequel le matériau de l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (50) a été soumis à au moins une étape de recuit à une température dans la plage comprise entre 120 et 140°C et pendant une durée comprise entre 2 et 20 heures, dans lequel l'article pré-manufacturé (50) est produit par fusion du TPU au sein de l'unité de plastification d'une machine de moulage par injection, puis injection du matériau dans un moule pour former l'article pré- manufacturé.
     
    3. Article pré-manufacturé (30) selon la revendication 1, produit par fusion du TPU au sein de l'unité de plastification d'une machine de moulage par injection, puis injection du matériau dans un moule pour former l'article pré-manufacturé.
     
    4. Article pré-manufacturé (30) selon la revendication 1 ou 3, dans lequel l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30) comprend l'additif dans une quantité comprise entre 1 et 10 % en poids, de préférence 1 à 5 % en poids, très préférablement 1 à 4 % en poids, le plus préférablement 2 à 3 % en poids, sur la base de 100 % en poids du matériau TPU de l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30).
     
    5. Article pré-manufacturé (50) selon la revendication 2, dans lequel l'étape de recuit a été opérée pendant une durée comprise entre 5 et 17 heures.
     
    6. Article pré-manufacturé (50) selon la revendication 2 ou 5, dans lequel la température de début de fusion est augmentée de 5 à 50°C, en particulier de 10 à 30°C, ou de 5 à 20°C.
     
    7. Article pré-manufacturé (30) selon l'une des revendications 1, 3 et 4, dans lequel l'additif est un TPU comprenant un groupe isocyanate.
     
    8. Article pré-manufacturé (30, 50) selon l'une des revendications 1 à 7, dans lequel l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30, 50) est une semelle extérieure.
     
    9. Procédé de production d'un article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30) selon l'une des revendications 1, 3, 4 ou 7, dans lequel le procédé comprend la fusion du TPU au sein de l'unité de plastification d'une machine de moulage par injection, puis l'injection du matériau dans un moule pour former l'article pré-manufacturé (30), dans lequel un additif permettant d'augmenter la viscosité du matériau de l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU est ajouté au matériau avant ou pendant la fusion du TPU ou est introduit pendant le moulage par injection, en une quantité de 1 à 15 % en poids sur la base de 100 % en poids du matériau TPU de l'article pré-manufacturé, dans lequel l'additif comprend un groupe isocyanate, un groupe organosilicium, et/ou un composé d'organosilicium.
     
    10. Procédé de production d'un article pré-manufacturé en TPU (50) selon l'une des revendications 2, 5 ou 6, dans lequel le procédé comprend la fusion du TPU au sein de l'unité de plastification d'une machine de moulage par injection, puis l'injection du matériau dans un moule pour former l'article pré-manufacturé (50), dans lequel le matériau de l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (50) est soumis à au moins une étape de recuit à une température dans la plage allant de 120 à 140°C et pendant une durée allant de 2 à 20 heures.
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel l'étape de recuit a été opérée à une température dans la plage allant de 120 à 130°C.
     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel l'étape de recuit a été opérée à une température dans la plage allant de 130 à 140°C.
     
    13. Procédé selon l'une des revendications 10 à 12, dans lequel l'étape de recuit a été opérée pendant une durée allant de 3 à 19 heures, de préférence de 5 à 17 heures, plus préférablement de 10 à 17 heures, le plus préférablement de 15 à 17 heures.
     
    14. Utilisation d'un article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30, 50) selon l'une des revendications 1 à 8 pour la fabrication d'une semelle de chaussure.
     
    15. Utilisation selon la revendication 14, dans laquelle l'article pré-manufacturé en TPU (30, 50) est une semelle extérieure.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description