Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Rapid Design System for the Footwear Industry, 'Filastyle'

The Filastyle system developed under this project will improve the speed and efficiency of developing a specification for a new shoe style and so reduce the time to market. Using a design development database, it handles the non-geometric data regarding the material selections, tool allocations and construction instructions which combine together to form a list of design elements. The system will assist all shoemakers, regardless of whether or not a CAD/CAM system is used to develop the patterns used in a new design.

Most new shoe designs are adaptations of earlier models, and Filastyle allows the user to quickly take an existing style and adapt it by importing new design elements either from other previous styles or from three databases holding all the 'what if' possibilities. The system can check that no pre-set design rules have been broken, that the patterns used are mutually compatible, and what the materials and labour costs will be.

An integral report designer allows users to set up professional documents showing extracts from the master specification table for different purposes such as work tickets, quality control instructions and range catalogues. Standard reports provide bills of materials, operation lists, tooling requirements, and cost summaries. Built in check lists and design team notes further improve the management and communications issues involved in the design process.

As the nature of shoe designs vary widely between manufacturers and may change over time as new materials and techniques are employed, the system has been made generic. Users control the categorisation of their design details to suit themselves and can re-configure the system as required to cope with their changing needs. They decide the key selection criteria to use, the design rules to implement and the pattern elements to track. Currently the system can display in English, Greek and Portuguese and support for other languages can be easily provided in the future.

The data stored in the system is live. As materials change, tools are broken and machines are changed, the system can show which styles will be affected. Search and replace features allow all instances of an obsolete specification to be selectively updated or marked for a later design decision.

Particular attention has been paid to the ease of use of the system as most design team members are not computer or keyboard experts. Using 'point and click' mouse controls, means that an entry need only be typed in once and repeatedly re-used wherever necessary.

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