THE PILOT PROJECT -
SMART CUTTING CENTER
The pilot project of ICOL Smart Cutting Center – the 1st robotized, “smart footwear factory” – had come into reality in spring of 2019. The new production line occupied the former cutting house of “Belwest” factory, the flagship footwear manufacturer for both Belarus and CIS. Taking the industry standards into account, the ground works did not take too long: commissioning stage was followed by pilot production stage at the second half of 2020.
Shoe manufacturing is traditionally manual, labour-thirsty work; few people aware that to produce just a single pair of leather shoes takes dozens, sometimes hundreds of operations. ICOL company has set the giant scale task: to teach robots all sensitivities of shoe making craft. It means: to replicate human’s work in every smallest detail, to create digital copies of all components and operations – and to tie up huge amounts of engineering, design and programming into an efficient joint process, actively using Digital Twins and AI.
«Our know-hows and achievements are not in a single robot or production stage, – emphasizes Dmitry Gontsov, ICOL Group founder and chief manager. – Today almost all players of fashion market, clothes and footwear manufacturers use a certain level of automation. We were eager to create a full cycle robotized factory from the very beginning: to eliminate manual execution of one-type operations to the uppermost, and to switch personnel to manage the automatic systems. Let me be honest – it was the real challenge for us to teach machines “thinking”, then operating. So, in the outcome it is real pleasure to see us achieving the set goal. ICOL.Factory-based pilot production already operates, showing high output, increased flexibility and low waste level – which are unreachable with traditional manual labour scheme».