SoftWear Automation announced the newest Sewbot workline is available for global pre-order. The Digital Footwear Upper Workline expands the patented Sewbot Pick-Place-Sew automation for fully automated shoe uppers.
This workline is engineered to construct a shoe with up to 12 overlays. In factory floor terms, a 3 overlay upper (with two logos and a laces overlay) can be manufactured every 26 seconds, which is 11X faster than traditional template construction.
In 2017, the SoftWear Automation team went to Waalwijk, Netherlands to speak on the future of footwear. Waalwijk is a small Dutch town with more than 400 related footwear businesses including a tannery. It used to be the global epicenter for footwear given its proximity to the world’s largest port, dense forests and endless cows. Today, retail is almost all that’s left there. It’s a familiar story in manufacturing where jobs go to the lowest wage providers.
However, the story continues to evolve as supply side pressures mount; the industry doubles its efforts to focus on country sourcing strategies and places the customer experience on the back burner. With the launch of its Digital Footwear Workline, the company aims to put the “future of WOW” (put customer experience first) in a local supply chain on par with country sourcing.
The “future of WOW” in apparel and footwear manufacturing is how it produces a sewn good on demand with great variety, speed, quality, and low cost; and delivered to the customer within 3 days.
To enable this future, SoftWear Automation is focusing on automation that can work without templates, without adhesives, and that is built with lean manufacturing at its core. The Sewbot workline for footwear uppers requires just one operator for four or more worklines, and is not subject to dye cutter imperfections, size, style or most material changes. Load in the vamps and overlays and sewn shoe uppers come out the other end.
With 70% of labor in the sewing and construction of the upper and 18 months from forecast to delivery, the worklines automate the most labor intensive part of a shoe, and provide the cost and flexibility to produce goods anywhere in the world on demand.