Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Automatic shoe production system launched

SoftWear Automation has announced the newest SEWBOT workline is available for global pre-order. The Digital Footwear Upper Workline expands the patented SEWBOT Pick-Place-Sew automation for fully-automated shoe uppers.

In 2017, the SoftWear Automation team went to Waalwijk, Netherlands to speak on the future of footwear. Waalwijk is a small Dutch town with more than 400 related footwear businesses including a tannery.

It used to be the global epicenter for footwear given its proximity to the world’s largest port, dense forests and endless cows. Today, retail is almost all that’s left there. It’s a familiar story in manufacturing where jobs go to the lowest wage providers.

As supply side pressures mount; the industry focus is on country sourcing strategies and the customer experience is on the back burner. With the launch of the Digital Footwear Workline, the company aims to put the customer experience first in a local supply chain on par with country sourcing.

The company’s system aims to produce a sewn good on demand with great variety, speed, quality, and low cost; and delivered to the customer within 3 days.

To enable this future, it is focusing on automation that can work without templates, without adhesives, and that is built with lean manufacturing at its core. The SEWBOT® workline for footwear uppers requires just one operator for four or more worklines, and is not subject to dye cutter imperfections, size, style or most material changes. Load in the vamps and overlays and sewn shoe uppers come out the other end.

With 70% of labor in the sewing and construction of the upper and 18 months from forecast to delivery, the worklines automate the most labor intensive part of a shoe and provide the cost and flexibility to produce goods anywhere in the world on demand, the company says.