This project integrates elements of validation and technology transfer within the footwear industry. Footwear is an important industry in a large number of European countries, particularly France, Italy, Spain , Portugal and the UK. The project team included organisations from most of these countries allowing the transfer of knowledge and experience and the practical demonstration of the technology. It was perhaps surprising that there were no partners from Italy which is by far the largest shoe manufacturer, with a very high proportion of women's shoe manufacturers (important for heel design) and a high number of shoe designers.
DITACOR is a specific design software for heels and top piece moulds for footwear. Its ultimate aim is to replace the craft form of the work with a new procedure which speeds up the launch processes and allows the systematisation of processes currently carried out on a manual basis.
The overall objectives and aims of the project were:
- To promote the use of an innovating design-manufacturing tool in the footwear industry in which craft manufacturing procedures are still used (heels and top-pieces), with the aim of improving its competitive position.
- To adapt the results of a previous R&D project to the methods used in local industry, so that the working environment is as friendly as possible.
- To evaluate the change that the introduction of the new procedure will bring about in the current production systems, especially from the point of view of the human resources and their qualification. Improving the re-qualification of human resources and consolidating the employment in SMEs.
The system for using CAD linked to NC production machinery and /or soft prototyping equipment had not been used in the design of heels (for women's shoes). The traditional method of heel design and manufacture nowadays is heavily dependant on hand crafting in most European footwear industries. Heel designs are susceptible to modifications in prototypes according to changing customer requirements/fashions. The new approach of developing specific CAD/CAM packages for heel design allows the manufacturer/ designer to speed up the design process and produce the smaller volumes and greater variety of models that the market now requires. The project was aimed at developing practical man/ machine interfaces to introduce modern technology into a traditional industry. This was successfully achieved and involved testing and fine tuning in laboratory and production environments. The successful electronic transfer of heel design data was also achieved between different partners in different countries allowing a much faster response time.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
NN16 9JH Kettering