Staying one step ahead together

KARL MAYER North America becomes a member of the United States Footwear Manufacturers Association

The KARL MAYER GROUP is passionate about the success of our customers and making the world a better place. In line with this vision, the company has made a name for itself as an important partner for entire industries with its textile machines, digital products, support services, ideas and know-how. Textile solutions from KARL MAYER machines can be found at every turn, especially in the shoe industry.

Depending on the application, tricot and raschel machines are available for the production of smart warp knitted high-performance shoe fabrics. Spacer textiles, particularly well established in the sports sector, are produced on double raschel machines equipped with jacquard technology for the realization of fully engineered shoe uppers.

Flat knitted articles can be produced mainly on the CMS 202 ki B, CMS 303 ki B, CMS 330 ki BW and ADF 330-32 ki BW models, primarily using gauge E 7.2 and finer. Flat knitting technology offers the possibility of implementing the most diverse patterns. From flat panels to intricate 3D shoe uppers, complete seamless solutions can be knitted together for enhanced performance. After a thermosetting process, the sole constructions can be applied directly to the 3D-knitted shoe uppers without intermediate steps, as a joint project with DESMA Schuhmaschinen GmbH demonstrated. For deeper integration, a warp knitting machine based on the roll-to-roll principle can also be combined with a 3D printing system to apply reinforcing structures to warp knitted fabrics in a uniform process.

In mid-April 2023, the KARL MAYER GROUP took another step in its commitment to the footwear industry and became a member of the United States Footwear Manufacturers Association (USFMA) with its American subsidiary. The association is delighted with the addition: "Our industry cannot grow and innovate without state-of-the-art machinery," said USFMA Executive Director Bill McCann. "We hope to provide KARL MAYER and others with a growing market in the U.S." The association leader shares this hope with Mariano Amezcua, the President of KARL MAYER North America and the initiator of the membership. He spoke to Ulrike Schlenker from Corporate Communication at the KARL MAYER GROUP about other expectations and reasons for joining.

US: How did the idea for membership come about? Did you already have contacts with the association or joint projects?

MA: The background to our membership is New Balance's focus on using local capacities. The company is one of our key footwear customers and the flagship member of USFMA. Vice President of Domestic Product Development & Manufacturing, Kevin McCoy set a goal for the MADE brand to design and build athletic shoes with 100% American craftmanship. To achieve this ambitious target, New Balance turned to USFMA to help them identify US sources for all raw materials, production machinery and manufacturing processes. John Simon, President of Signet Mills and a USFMA board member, has become instrumental in identifying an all-American supply chain. John Simon, a long-time KARL MAYER customer, invited KARL MAYER North America to participate in USFMA to strengthen the capabilities of US shoe manufacturers.

US: What is the role of the USFMA? Are any of KARL MAYER GROUP’s other clients members of the association?

MA:The primary charter of USFMA is to grow, protect and enhance the footwear manufacturing base in the USA. At the heart of the shoe industry, USFMA is the hub for innovation, networking and collaborative efforts between domestic manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to New Balance and Signet Mills, other members include our fibers partner UNIFI and R&D labs for lifestyle shoes.

US: What goals is the KARL MAYER GROUP pursuing with the membership? What does it hope to achieve?

MA: Our main objective is to partner with the entire supply chain to help New Balance and other USFMA members achieve their goals of producing 100% American-crafted athletic shoes. We also want to further enhance the developing warp knit shoe market in the US by building relationships with multiple brands.

US: How can the KARL MAYER GROUP contribute to the work of the association? Which of its business areas is particularly in demand for cooperation?

MA: KARL MAYER North America plans to offer product development services for the design and production of innovative samples using KM.ON Create Plus and STOLL flat knit machines. We are able to engage technical & design professionals through our education programs for fabric development. We are able to help customers seamlessly integrate our flat knit and warp knit technologies into their current workflows. Finally, when manufacturers are ready to move into mass production, KARL MAYER Warp Knitting machines are ready to take on the heavy load to produce the perfect all American made athletic footwear.

US: Thank you for the interesting conversation.

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