An industry-academia collaboration project has led to the production of textiles and soles for shoes from recycled semiconductor wafer byproducts.
Research teams at the National University of Kaohsiung (NUK) and ASE Technology Holding Co (日月光投控), the world’s largest chip testing and packaging service provider, have found a way to recycle adhesive tape used for semiconductor wafer dicing and repurpose it for making shoes, the university said on Monday.
The process developed by the two entities is based on granulating thermoplastic olefin (TPO), a combination of polymer and filler blends, such as polypropylene, an elastomer or rubber, as well as fillers such as calcium carbonate, the university said in a statement.
The granulation process allows for the extraction of material that can be used for footwear production, it said.
Taiwanese electronics factories generate about 200 tonnes of waste each year, and previous projects involving the university and the industrial sector have also led to the development of new ways to convert waste into materials for shoe production, the university said.
The TPO produced by the research teams has been adopted by Puhu Footwear Co Ltd (彪琥鞋業), a Kaohsiung-based producer of shoes, to replace commonly used ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), the university said.
To switch from EVA to TPO, the shoemaker adjusted its molds and parameters, and make several revisions to fine-tune the production process, Hsueh Po-hsiang (薛博祥), a manager at Puhu, said in the statement.
The company now makes shoe soles that contain 55 percent TPO, without compromising basic functions such as balance and shock absorption, Hsueh said.
The research teams were led by NUK Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering head Su Chean-cheng (蘇進成) and ASE vice president of research and development C.P. Hung (洪志斌), the university said.
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