Title: Childrens waterproof boots
Pages: 38 - 39
Childrens waterproof boots
Every year British children have slightly more than a million pairs of waterproof boots bought for them. Two years ago Plastic Coatings Ltd, with no previous experience of footwear, built a special machine capable of dip-moulding in great quantities - an investment which cost the company some £75,000. Launched in November 1969, 320,000 pairs of Globoots were sold within a year, and the sales boom is continuing.
Globoots are unique in being double dip-moulded, so that the bright transucent uppers and the opaque soles are made as one without seams. Available in infants sizes 4-9 (Continental 21-26) and 6in (15cm) high, Globoots are now made in a choice of three colour combinations: red or blue uppers with a white sole, or orange uppers with a black sole. Specially formulated grades of pvc plastisol are used - Vylastic SS.60 for the uppers and Vylastic HP.60 for the soles. The boots are light, have no rough edges, and are flexible so that they adjust to the shape of the child's foot and can be pulled on and off by a toddler. A special removable sock made of a laminate of leatherboard, pvc foam and nylon which absorbs moisture while the boot is being worn, dries out rapidly when not in use and replaces the traditional fabric lining.
Plastic Coatings first considered dipmoulding some 11 years ago, but decided that the technology was not developed enough. The idea was raised again late in 1967, the intention being to fasten an extruded sole and heel to a dip-moulded upper with adhesive. But early in 1968 the company's R&D team evolved the double-dipped boot.
Market research had established a minimum sales figure of 250,000 boots a year, and work went ahead on designing and building a special machine to produce over 25,000 pairs a week (the machine is run with only two machine operators, an inspector, and two packers to place the boots in their special boxes). Dip moulding has several advantages over injection-moulding for this kind of work: despite the large number of moulds required each pair of dip-mould formers costs only about £100 compared with up to £3500 for a pair of injection moulds; no trimming is required and there is therefore no waste.
The team responsible for the development of Globoots was headed by a project manager responsible to the divisional director (himself an engineer) for the commercial success of the programme, a chemist, a design draughtsman, a machine engineer, and two technicians. From an early stage the need to achieve large export orders was recognised as being the best way to even out the seasonal demand for boots in Britain. So far more than 150,000 pairs have been exported.
Approximate price: 75p a pair
Made by: Globoot Footwear, a division of Plastic Coatings Ltd
Designed by: maker's design team