With the constant and fast paced evolution of technology, it’s safe to assume that the automation of many processes is inevitable, even in footwear. ROBOFOOT is a european initiative striving to make that a reality, right now –
‘Fashion Footwear production is currently mainly handcrafted. Some manufacturing processes (for footwear and its components) are assisted by specialized machinery (last manufacture, cementing, and cutting) and there exist highly automated lines in mass production of technical shoes (i.e. safety footwear). But most production is still handmade, being especially true in the case of high added value shoes production, where Europe maintains its leadership.
The introduction of intelligent robotics will contribute to overcome the complexity in the automation of the processes of this industry that accounts for some of the shortest production runs to be found (eight pairs of shoes is the average order size).’
Machines are used throughout the production of mass produced products, however ROBOFOOT wants to take it to an entirely new level, fully automating every process from initial construction all the way to packing them up and shipping them out. This of course has many positives from a mass production stand point, one of them being cheaper production costs, which will allow companies to be able to produce in their own country as opposed to looking out to Asia to stay competitive on their price points.
Of course the human element is always important when it comes to footwear, certain shoes really are more art than shoe, and that’s really something that can’t ever be reproduced by machinery. However, in some forms this could really be quite interesting, and you can’t argue that the robots look cool a fuck.
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