The assembly of shoe uppers is a labour‐intensive activity requiring highly developed manipulative and supervisory skills to ensure economic production of adequate quality. A typical manufacturing unit in the fashion sector might at any instant have in process say 20 – 40 or more shoe styles, each one comprising left and right, each with ten sizes and perhaps as many as 20 components, in the upper alone. Clearly, any form of automation depending on hard tooling is unacceptable in such an environment. Tool changes are too frequent and the cost and logistics of providing and managing the tooling hardware are prohibitive. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule and machinery based on such technology is successful when production runs are long enough. This article describes an aspect of a major project undertaken by British United Shoe Machinery Ltd (BUSM) and a number of universities, with financial support from the ACME Directorate of the Science and Engineering Research Council. The objective of the programme has been to identify and demonstrate automation technologies of sufficient flexibility to be applicable to a broad range of shoemaking environments. This has been successful, and the following discussion describes in particular a product that arises from work at the City University, carried out in the early 1980s and from more recent work at the University of Hull.
CitationDownload as .RIS
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1993, MCB UP Limited