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August 24, 2018

Bangor 3D shoe printer inks deal with maker of eco-friendly sandals

Photo / Lori Valigra
Photo / Lori Valigra
Andrew Katon, CEO and president of Cobbler Technologies of Bangor, stands before a hobby 3D printer that is making parts for his prototype commercial 3D printer in the background (metal frame) in this 2017 photo. The company will print eco-friendly sandals for Soak USA — a startup that has a production facility in Kennebunk — under an agreement unveiled this week.

Cobbler Technologies, a Bangor-based startup specializing in 3D printing for the footwear industry, will print eco-friendly sandals for Soak USA — a startup that has a production facility in Kennebunk — under an agreement unveiled this week.

Soak USA says on its website that its soles are produced exclusively in Kennebunk and touts itself as a socially responsible female-founded brand.

Cobbler Technologies CEO Andrew Katon said in Tuesday's announcement that the 3D-printing technology is starting to become more cost-competitive with traditional manufacturing methods.

"3-D printing has remained out of reach for most production applications due to the high cost of materials," he said, adding that the company's engineers have been perfecting a high-resolution production 3D-printing technology known as 3APDP built around common production materials.

In a 2017 profile of the company, Mainebiz reported that Cobbler's technology can print several materials without an operator having to stop the printer, change the material and the print head to handle it—eliminating costly downtime on the factory floor.

Stephen A. Bolduc, executive manager of the Bangor Innovation Center business incubator where Cobbler is based, told Mainebiz via email that the Center is proud of Cobbler and its agreement with Soak USA.

"3D printing is revolutionizing the shoe industry, and Cobbler Tech is at the forefront of the revolution," he said.

The center has a total of seven members and is accepting applications from new members, according to Bolduc.

Sandals 'for the socially conscious woman'

Soak USA, co-founded by New York City-based fashion designer Michelle Vale and

fashion-magazine industry veteran Elena Corsano, specializes in "comfortable yet chic casual shoes for the socially conscious woman," according to the company's website.

Its signature Soak Slide Sandals, made with eco-friendly materials including recyclable BPA-free/non-phthalate, are priced online at $78 and $88.

Vale said in a statement that her company is excited about the opportunity to leverage Cobbler Technologies' innovative technology "and apply it to a fashion-forward brand."

She added that the company will offer its two most popular colors, gold and silver, and add custom colors in the near future.

"This collaboration is in alignment with our eco-friendly, made-in-USA technology," she said.

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