Keen Footwear said last week it will build 13 footwear styles at its new factory in Portland, OR in coming years, up from the eight the company forecast just six months ago.
Keen fired up the first of two production lines at The Portland Factory in October 2010 to make its steel-toed Portland boot. At the time, Keen CEO James Curleigh described the factory as an experiment that would allow Keen to fast track research on sustainable manufacturing, create domestic manufacturing jobs and diversify the companys sourcing risk.
The 15,000-square-foot factory is designed to crank out a pair of shoes every 30 seconds, or 1.5 million pairs per year at full capacity. That is roughly 30 percent of Keens production volume, which is now coming almost entirely from factories in Asia.
The Portland Factory assembles shoes using a highly automated robotic control rougher and a direct-attach process. The direct-attach process adheres the outsole of the shoe directly to the upper, thereby significantly reducing the need for petroleum-based cements and volatile chemicals.
Fifteen now work at the factory, but Keen plans to add more workers later this year when it fires up the second line to make mens and womens casual shoes.