ADDFactor project aims at developing an innovative customised shoe manufacturing framework based on the creation of small-local-agile manufacturing units – mini-factories – enabling the distribution at local (mini-factory@retailer) and district scale (mini-factory@area) of technologically advanced fabrication operations. Customization of the shoe is addressed considering functional, bio-medical and safety-wellness related aspects (prevent injuries restoring optimal motion); so as to guarantee comfortable, performing, safe and healthy products for different applications (e.g. orthopedic, sport and leisure, fashion) and different consumers.

Such a framework will include the development and exploitation of new digital tools, industrial technologies for customer data acquisition and elaboration as well as for customised footwear products/components manufacturing to provide instant realization and personalisation services locally (i.e. in retail environments or close to retails such as an utilization site at district level).

Project Rationale

Consumers demand for personalised, comfortable, safe-healthy, affordable and sustainable products is growing, and the footwear sector is seen as a traditional Pillar of the “Made in Europe”, targeting products recognized and considered as a reference all around the world. Such core sector account today for € 26,1 billion production and nearly 405.000 workers in Europe.

In today globalized world, companies are trying to remain competitive through the adoption of a strategy where high quantity production of goods is the leverage to reduce costs. By negating this approach, ADDFactor proposes the “Mini-factories” concept, which is conceived to be an innovative solution for most of the actors involved in the whole supply chain: the relationship between retailers and the manufacturing technologies will be considered and characterized by a new production framework concept, founded on central knowledge-based design and local distributed manufacturing. This high-level concept will be applied focusing on need-driven products, and ADDFactor will manage the complexity of their design phase thanks to a direct connection with the retailer, that will provide “biometric data” of the customers as tacit requirements and “aesthetics tests” as explicit demands, being both fundamental for an effective individual personalization.

ADDFactor achievements will be focused on two different levels of manufacturing solutions, which will be placed: at retail environment, to consider products simple and/or reduced in terms of assembled components (i.e. orthotics or modular fashion heels and plateau); and at district level when the products are complex and the manufacturing procedures cannot be scaled at local level.

Within this overall project concept, ADDFactor will structure its activities towards the achievement of the following objectives:

  • A gait analysis and biomechanical for personal user framework, to quantify the target products in the addressed sectors) by defining the core “functional” aspects to be achieved and its correlation with biomechanical parameters and user needs;
  • An integrated system for data gathering, to provide a scalable set of (combined) body detection technologies;
  • A 3D active foot model for advanced design, as a virtual tool fully endowed with all emulation aspects related to bones, foot joints and muscle/tendons;
  • Advanced design and CAD/CAM tools, to enable the creation of complex internally articulated structures capable to confer to the product desired feature and dynamic behavior;
  • A product configurator and supply chain management framework, to enable collaborative product customization services;
  • An ultra-fast and auto-configurable machine at local level, based on modular approach, which could be used to automatically produce orthopedic products;
  • Additive machines for advanced insoles and fashion components, for Instant foot orthotic, heels and plateau Manufacturing;
  • A Flexible and auto-configurable production line, with abilities to “adapt” to the specific requirements.

    Thanks to the concurrent impact of these project results, ADDFactor will spark off an innovation virtuous cycle towards a future for European manufacturing industry where addressed consumer centered products will be conceived, designed and manufactured considering the specific profiles, requirements and needs of their users.