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ADvanced Digital technologies and virtual engineering for mini-Factories

Periodic Report Summary 2 - ADDFACTOR (ADvanced Digital technologies and virtual engineering for mini-Factories)

Project Context and Objectives:
Summary Description
In today globalized world, companies are trying to remain competitive through the adoption of a strategy where high quantity production of goods is the leverage to reduce costs.
By negating this approach, ADDFactor proposes the “Mini-factories” concept, which is conceived to be an innovative solution for most of the actors involved in the whole supply chain: the relationship between retailers and the manufacturing technologies will be considered and characterized by a new production framework concept, founded on central knowledge-based design and local distributed manufacturing.
This high-level concept will be applied focusing on need-driven products, and ADDFactor will manage the complexity of their design phase thanks to a direct connection with the retailer, that will provide “biometric data” of the customers as tacit requirements and “aesthetics tests” as explicit demands, being both fundamental for an effective individual personalization.
ADDFactor achievements will be focused on two different levels of manufacturing solutions, which will be placed:
• at retail environment, to consider products simple and/or reduced in terms of assembled components (i.e. orthotics or modular fashion heels and plateau);
• and at district level when the products are complex and the manufacturing procedures cannot be scaled at local level.
Within this overall project concept, ADDFactor will structure its activities towards the achievement of the following objectives:
• A gait analysis and biomechanical for personal user framework, to quantify the target products in the addressed sectors) by defining the core “functional” aspects to be achieved and its correlation with biomechanical parameters and user needs;
• An integrated system for data gathering, to provide a scalable set of (combined) body detection technologies;
• A 3D active foot model for advanced design, as a virtual tool fully endowed with all emulation aspects related to bones, foot joints and muscle/tendons;
• Advanced design and CAD/CAM tools, to enable the creation of complex structures capable to confer to the product desired feature and dynamic behavior;
• A product configurator and supply chain management framework, to enable collaborative product customization services;
• An ultra-fast and auto-configurable machine at local level, based on modular approach, which could be used to automatically produce orthopedic products;
• Additive machines for advanced insoles and fashion components, for Instant foot orthotic, heels and plateau Manufacturing;
• A Flexible and auto-configurable production line, with abilities to “adapt” to the specific requirements.
Main Objectives
In targeting need-driven products, ADDFactor develops tools, solutions and processes in order to fully address the “Mini-factories” concept, supporting the relationship between retailers and the manufacturing technologies by means of a new production framework concept, founded on central knowledge-based design and local distributed manufacturing.
The main ADDFactor technologies will enable and enhance advanced products, which will be designed and manufactured following a direct supply chain. The starting point is the customer data, acquired with proper technologies opportunely developed, new techniques (available from other markets) will be implemented and developed optimizing them to achieve radical innovations in footwear industry, other conventional methods will be incrementally improved by new technical solutions to guarantee ultra-fast and auto-configurable systems able to make accessible to a wider market personalized products which are nowadays mostly handmade. The integration of different digital technologies will finally allow high product innovations in terms of aesthetics and above all functional personalization able to consider biomechanical aspect of individual needs.
Project Results:
The main results achieved so far are here divided by work packages:
WP 1 - Gait Analysis and Biomechanical for Personal User Framework
T1.1 Characterization of Gait Analysis and Motion Activities
T1.2 Analysis of foot injuries and pathologies
T1.3 Definition of needs and requirements of users wearing fashion, sport and orthopaedic footwear solutions
T1.4 Definition of product specifications
All the tasks of this work package have been completed.
WP 2 - Integrated System for customer data gathering
T2.1 Development of 3D static scanning device
A first version of technical specifications of new scanning device has been provided.
T2.2 Development of innovative plantar pressure devices to capture static and dynamic motions
A first version of technical specifications of innovative plantar pressure device has been provided.
T2.3 Development of dynamic biometric data through tridimensional motion capture
A first version of technical specifications of three-dimensional motion capture device has been
T2.4 Development of an integrated system to capture biometric data
A first version of technical SW requirements and specifications of software integrator module has been provided.
WP 3 - 3D Active Foot Model for advanced design
T3.1 Definition of the ideal range of motion
The ideal range of motion is available and these results have been integrated into the musculoskeletal foot model of Task 3.2
T3.2 Creation of advanced musculoskeletal foot-sole-(shoe) model
A first version of the advanced musculoskeletal foot-sole-insole-(shoe) model has been provided.
T3.3 Definition of a Plantar pressure driven inverse kinematics model
A first version of the plantar pressure driven inverse kinematics has been provided.
WP 4 - Advanced Design and CAD/CAM tools / Product Configurator and Supply Chain
Management Framework
T4.1 Development of functional design tool for advanced soles
A first version of Sw tool for the functional design of advanced geometries has been provided at the end of the period.
T4.2 Development of aesthetical and functional design tool for fashion complex structures
A first version of Sw tool for the functional design of complex structures into fashion heels has been provided.
T4.3 Development of functional design tool for accommodative and biomechanical insoles
A first version of Sw tool for the functional design of accommodative/biomechanical insoles has been provided at the end of the period.
WP 5 - Ultra-fast and auto-configurable machine at local level / Additive machines for advanced insoles and fashion components
T5.1 Development and prototyping of Flexible Insole Manufacturing system through a scalable production approach
A first two mid versions of the flexible Insole Manufacturing system are available.
T5.2 Development and prototyping of Instant sole (and Heels) Manufacturing system through an on-site production approach
A first two mid versions of the Instant sole (and Heels) Manufacturing system are available.
T5.3 Integration of dedicated sustainable compound and flexible moulding solutions
First testing results have been performed through two campaigns of experimentations within the period.
T5.4 Development and prototyping of Flexible Midsole Manufacturing system through a series production approach
A first version of the Carousel concept design and the electronics/mechanics details have been provided within the period.
WP 6 - Pilot Shoes Prototypes
T6.4 Physical and mechanical tests along with chemical compatibility evaluation of the resulting products
A first testing and experimental campaign on components and products has been performed to validate or reject the ADDFactor physical prototypes.
WP 8 - Dissemination and Exploitation Activities
T8.1 Development of dissemination strategy and update of the Dissemination plan
The project dissemination plan has been provided within the period.
T8.2 Online Dissemination Tools
The public project website and related dissemination tools have been identified and launched within the period.
Potential Impact:
The expected results can be clustered in five different areas targeted within ADDFactor, where the innovation lays on various innovation levels such as products, processes and technologies. They are the following:
3 different capture devices are developed, in order to complementary gather information on consumer biometric data: a scanning device, a modular pressure detection module, and a novel motion acquisition system.
Two software products, a tool and interface plugin, enable the integrated evaluation and emulation of the foot/gait parameters through advanced musculoskeletal foot-sole software models.
Three separate software tools cover different aspects of the engineering of ADDFactor products, particularly the functional design of complex concepts for soles, fashion heels/components, and advanced insoles.
A web based platform is targeted, integrating and supporting dedicated tools for product configuration, production management and supply chain management of the ADDFactor products.
A differentiated set of technologies is being developed, covering the spectrum from (local) retail level till district level, considering fast production technologies and machines aiming at Insole Manufacturing, Foot orthotics (and Heels) Manufacturing, Last and Midsole Manufacturing.
The integration of the above mentioned digital technologies enables fundamental product innovations able to satisfy specific functional and aesthetical needs of the customers as long as a new factories framework able to support new kind of retail services with the European high added value industry.
New market opportunities
The EU is the largest market for footwear, being ahead of the USA, representing one third of the global market value. In 2008, EU consumption was € 49 billion (2.1 billion pairs) with an average per capita expenditure of € 100 or 4.2 pairs”... “Since 2004, sales in most EU countries increased quite strongly up to 2007, before they were affected by the global economic downturn in 2008. After a period of decline and uneven recovery, this market is expected to grow again. The major stimulants are the changes in fashion and sport, new footwear styles, including recycled footwear and ethical footwear, as well as technological innovations in comfortable footwear”.
Current needs
About 200 million Europeans suffer of problems related to feet, while foot disorders represent a social problem for about 35% of the population. On the other hand healthy life style is becoming a constant asset of traditional consumer product. Consumer demand for services still expands as income grow, albeit at a slower rate than at the turn of the century. Demand is in particular fuelled by shifts in consumer preferences not only expressed by increasing demand for health care but also in prevention, leisure goods and services.
Foot diseases are recognized as a wide societal problem, reducing mobility and social activity of the people suffering from it and hence reducing their quality of life, what could be perceived as a minor issue such as an ingrown nail or corn can become a crippling condition if not treated properly.
Cross-sectional studies of foot conditions have indicated that approximately 40 to 87% of the European population (237 to 516 million people) will suffer at least once in their lifetime some kind of foot abnormality. Approximately 18% of all foot diseases, counting over 42 million people, are related to biomechanical foot disorders, requiring custom foot orthotics to correct and align the musculoskeletal structure, control excessive motion, while providing a proper support and pressure distribution, preventing any aggravation and alleviating existing ails. The cost for the European
Public Health Systems concerning foot problems is estimated at €2 billion p.a..
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