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Intersectorial technology transfer on rapid prototyping in the toy and shoe industries


The present project has the general objective of developing the innovative capacities of SMEs of a traditional sector such as the footwear and auxiliary industry by the validation and transfer of technologies for the fast prototyping of moulds for the manufacturing of pre-series of injected shoe components (outsoles), based on technologies used by other industrial sectors (toys and plastic processing) in different countries (Spain and Italy).
The research in non technical issues facing innovation, is a major objective of this project which will help the technology implementation under the organisational, educational and sector related point of view.
The technical issues addressed in the project are related to the implementation of fast prototyping of moulds techniques for the injection of pre-series of shoe components in the footwear sector, based on previous experiences in the toy and plastic processing industries. This technology has not been implemented till now in the footwear industry, while in other sectors like toys, plastic processing and automotive is well known.
The project will focus its non technical issues on:
- impact on employment and business: evaluation through control groups and cost-benefit analysis. Technology audits at the beginning of the process.
- analysis of training needs: evaluation of new skills.
- providing of specific training: design and ellaboration of training materials (CDs, internet)
- improvement of working procedures: advantage of decentralization through internet and development of new comunication protocoles among companies. Harmonisation of files format for exchange of designs.
- improved production times through CAD/CAM and Internet: integration of design and manufacturing steps.
- employment consolidation and creation of new qualified skills: analysis of skills in control groups.
- analysis of innovation barriers: survey of barriers among other potential users.
- dissemination strategies along Europe: providing information to European Footwear SMEs.
- IPR aspects: leagl implications of new procedures, licenses to third parties, etc...
- settlement of standards and prospective analysis: analysis of future needs and evaluation of working procedures.
The expected results of the project are:
- To assimilate the procedures used by other sectors for mould prototyping. The quantification of this objective will mean to speed up the pre-series production by 50% in terms of time.
- To integrate CAD solutions for shoe component design and manufacturing with mould prototype manufacturing.
- To design specific production methods for companies involved in the implementation of the new procedure.
- To reduce the costs of preseries production by 50.


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