Sourcing Journal: SoftWear Automation Launches First Sewbots for Shoes
The robots are coming—and SoftWear Automation’s latest innovation is enabling the footwear sector to automate the production process for shoe uppers.
The Atlanta-based tech company launched the Digital Footwear Upper Workline, an expansion of the patented Sewbot Pick-Place-Sew automation for shoe uppers, which is currently available for international pre-order. With the new footwear upper workline, SoftWear Automation aims to speed up the global footwear supply chain and help improve countries’ sourcing strategies.
To foster this goal, SoftWear Automation is focusing on automation built with lean manufacturing that doesn’t depend on adhesives and templates. The new workline requires only one operator for four or more worklines and minimizes the risk of dye cutter imperfections, size, style or other material issues. Compared to conventional template sewing, the workline can produce a shoe upper 11 times faster—and it can sew one upper with three overlays in 26 seconds.
“The ‘future of WOW’ in apparel and footwear manufacturing is how we produce a sewn good on demand with great variety, speed, quality, and low cost; and delivered to the customer within 3 days,” the company said in a statement. “With 70% of labor in the sewing and construction of the upper and 18 months from forecast to delivery, our 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.”
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