T.EVO: Sewbots Step into Shoe Manufacturing
ATLANTA – Advanced robotics and machinery manufacturer, SoftWear Automation, has announced that its new Sewbot Pick-Place-Sew workline which autonomously produces shoe uppers is available for global pre-order. This machinery, the company claims, provides a versatile, fast and cost-effective solution to manufacturing the component, said to be one of the most complex to produce.
“To enable this future, we are focusing on automation that can work without templates, without adhesives, and that is built with lean manufacturing at its core,” the company said. “Our 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.”
The company’s technology uses a combination of patented high-speed computer vision and advanced robotics to manipulate fabrics. It is compatible with virtually any fibre type, however, distortion of the fabric can occur for ‘less-suitable’ fibre types, calling on the company’s expertise to adjust the technology.
Softwear Automation visited Waalwijk, Netherlands, during the development of its new technology, this trip allowed the company to speak with around 400 footwear retailers in the city regarding the future of footwear.
“Today, retail is almost all that’s left there,” noted the company. “It’s a familiar story in manufacturing where jobs go to the lowest wage providers. However, the story continues to evolve as supply side pressures mount; the industry doubles its efforts to focus on country sourcing strategies and places the customer experience on the back burner. With the launch of our Digital Footwear workline we aim to put the customer experience first in a local supply chain on par with country sourcing.”
With Pick-Place-Sew technology, the company says it provides a cost-effective solution to a typically labour-intensive aspect of manufacturing shoes. Using Sewbots, worklines will not only be more productive, but accessible around the world.
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