Polyurethane Boot Investment by Dunlop
Dunlop Protective Footwear has made a seven-figure investment at its Harford County manufacturing facility to produce a new boot in the U.S. instead of abroad.
The new Purofort boot is a lighter, thinner version of previous models, and uses the company’s proprietary polyurethane technology. The technology uses 1 million evenly-distributed air bubbles to reduce about 1,000 pounds of walking weight per day, said Colin Clark, marketing manager with Dunlop. Clark said it is the only polyurethane boot made in the U.S.
The investment at its Havre de Grace manufacturing facility went toward a machine that will help make the boot. Dunlop holds a patent on the machine and is hiring 15 people to help run it, Clark said.
Clark declined to disclose the specific cost of the machine, only saying it was more than $1 million.
It has already produced about 200 boots. The boots will retail for between $110 and $150.
Clark presented the new boot design during the Baltimore Business Journal’s Future of Manufacturing event in Feb. 16.
“We are pretty excited and this should give a unique position in the U.S. marketplace,” Clark said. “Usually this kind of thing would be outsourced to Mexico or China, but we think this kind of internal investment is worthwhile.”
Clark declined to disclose the cost of manufacturing for a set of these boots, but said keeping the production in-house will cut down on overall costs in the long run.
“We don’t have to worry about import duties, and overall, we’re finding it to be more cost-efficient to produce, warehouse, ship and sell all from one location,” Clark said. “The timeframe, the barrier of communicating with our manufacturing staff is a 15-foot hallway to the production floor, compared to across an ocean.”
The company employs about 100 people in its Havre de Grace facility, and 500 globally.
Clark said the company will be working on a new technology in 2017 as well. He said Dunlop’s mission is helping the U.S. workforce stay safe in their jobs, and he thinks there are still more ways the boot company can help with that.