footwear
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Accelerating Design to Feet: From Months to Days through Algorithmic Engineering
Published 26 September 2022

Project Breakdown

Industry: Footwear

Product: Hyperganic Design to Mold app

Partners:

  • DESMA, a global direct injection molding machine manufacturer
  • Daniel Shirley, performance footwear designer

Under conventional footwear production cycles, launching a shoe takes nearly a year. To streamline production processes and accelerate speed-to-market, Hyperganic created the first end-to-end, design-to-manufacturing application and integrated it into the workflows of leading direct injection molding manufacturer, DESMA.

Powered by Algorithmic Engineering, the Hyperganic Design to Mold app shortens the design to production workflow from months to days. It empowers designers to create entire midsoles and production-ready molds from just 2D drawings made on design tools like Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. Its algorithms enable instantaneous iterations and rapid prototyping, before the molds are CNC milled or additively manufactured – all without a single CAD interaction.

 Watch how the Hyperganic Design to Mold app works:

Conventional Footwear Production Cycles

Conventionally, footwear brands will project demand across styles, sizes, and geographies a year before launch. They are unable to account for unpredictable supply chain shocks, skyrocketing transit costs, and late-stage production changes. When overproduction occurs, brands would rather destroy the excess shoes than risk price depreciation that undermines profitability.

One bottleneck lies in the initial design phase. Before iterating and prototyping begins, footwear designers and engineers spend months manually building 3D models on CAD tools inefficiently from Tech Packs (master documents containing technical specifications and design details of the shoe). Once the mold is due for manufacturing, last-minute changes are limited and re-engineering is unfeasible.

The conventional footwear production cycle spans months, but with the Hyperganic Design to Mold app,
the workflow is transformed. A shoe is produced in days.

Fully Integrated Design-to-Manufacturing Workflow

If footwear designers and engineers can rapidly engineer a production-ready mold, this would dramatically accelerate the entire production process – here, Hyperganic’s Algorithmic Engineering capabilities come into play.

Algorithmic Engineering encodes product engineering knowledge into algorithms. These algorithms then generate 3D objects on behalf of engineers, removing manual and repetitive CAD processes from the workflow. This is how the Hyperganic Design to Mold app resolves the design bottleneck and generates production-ready molds from mere 2D drawings.

Automatic Translation from 2D to 3D

Creating the Midsole: Illustrated lines automatically transform into the 3D midsole shape.

Designing the Midsole: Similarly, 2D emboss designs also automatically transform into 3D embossed patterns with textures and depth.

The Hyperganic Design to Mold app seamlessly integrates into existing creative workflows. Vector graphics and images from Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, for instance, are the only inputs needed to convert 2D sketches into vivid and production-ready 3D midsoles.

Creativity reigns free; profile lines, carefully and confidently drawn, determine the composition of the 3D midsole profile. At full product resolution, footwear designers are empowered to take their artistry further, applying patterns and textures onto the 3D midsole. Every iteration builds upon the shoe’s last, ensuring the manufacturability of the midsole design – a key criterion for mold generation in the next step.  

This shoe was designed in a day on the Hyperganic Design to Mold app.

“For the first time in the history of shoemaking, we are improving the footwear industry with an incredibly fast design-to-manufacturing process for molds, and an easy-to-use toolset for designers to kickstart production. What used to be traditionally a labor-intensive and time-consuming design process for the generation of a Tech Pack with technical specifications for mold-making is now fully automated and optimized by integrating our direct injection molding process with Hyperganic’s Algorithmic Engineering solution. This powerful combination reduces the time to market from months to days.” 

Christian Decker, CEO of DESMA

Generating the Mold

Generating the Midsole Mold: Once the midsole design is finalized, a production-ready mold can be instantly generated with a single button.

The application generates a three-piece mold based on the midsole design. The mold parts include a bottom stamper, as well as a left and right ring.

Together with DESMA’s mold engineers, Hyperganic translated the tedious process of mold construction into algorithms. Combining the 3D midsole design with DESMA’s hardware requirements, the Hyperganic Design to Mold app generates a three-piece mold ready for CNC milling or 3D printing – in seconds. The sole cavities, injection angles, and segmentation are all rightly positioned for production.

As Algorithmic Engineering drives the entire workflow, last-minute design changes are also easily made and reflected on the mold.

Presenting The AE

Performance footwear designer, Daniel Shirley –  who has worked with leading U.S. and European sports brands – has created the first Algorithmically Engineered sneakers on the Hyperganic Design to Mold app: The AE.

The AE: The world’s first Algorithmically Engineered sneakers.

The AE was designed in under a day without CAD tools, including the generation of the corresponding three-part injection mold. DESMA’s manufacturing experts then injection-molded the shoes, making the AE the first piece of footwear that was entirely designed and manufactured in a matter of days – an industry breakthrough.

“With a few profiles and greyscale maps from Illustrator or Photoshop, Hyperganic’s algorithms generate the entire midsole in 3D. It makes 3D outputs accessible to those without the skills to translate their ideas into 3D. I can run through dozens of iterations and tweaks in no-time. It’s all built on a production last so the input to output is 1-to-1. In a day, I can take an idea and go all the way to production-ready mold parts. This speed is a game-changer.”

  Daniel Shirley, Performance Footwear Designer

Learn more about the Hyperganic Design to Mold app – email us at business@hyperganic.com.

Hyperganic is showcasing The AE sneaker at the DESMA House Fair – happening now, from September 26 to 27. Visit us to examine it in person. 

Hyperganic: A New Paradigm of Product Engineering

Through algorithms, Hyperganic automates time-consuming engineering processes while considering the material requirements of printing technologies. Algorithmic Engineering produces printable 3D objects through scalable and customizable workflows, accelerating innovation and product engineering across industries beyond footwear. With lean production and agile supply chains, we can optimize inventories, increase onshoring opportunities and reduce manufacturing waste. Algorithmic Engineering has unlocked this new sustainable future of manufacturing.

Engineers are using Hyperganic Core daily. Try out our Algorithmic Engineering software here.

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