The pilot project of ICOL Group called Smart Leather Cutting Center, is the 1st robotized, “smart footwear factory” that successfully started in the beginning of 2019. The new production line was set up on the site of the former cutting center on “Belwest” factory, the major footwear manufacturer for both Belarus and CIS countries. Keeping in mind the complexity of the project, groundworks didn’t take too long and the pilot project moved to the 2nd stage of pilot production in late 2020.

Footwear production is traditionally manual and it is most literally work done with the hands. Not many people realize that it takes dozens and sometimes hundreds of operations  to manufacture a single pair of leather shoes. ICOL Group has set an ambitious goal: that is to teach robots all “the ropes” of footwear manufacturing process, meaning make them able to repeat the human work in every detail, to create digital copies of all components and operations and to create a smooth process of manufacturing by integrating engineering, design and programming solutions into one whole.

Our know-hows and solutions are not represented by a single robot or a production stage”, emphasizes Dmitry Gontsov, the founder and CEO of ICOL Group. “A certain level of automatization is used by all participants of footwear and fashion industry. From the very beginning we wanted to create a full-cycle smart factory that requires no human labor and needs personnel only to control the system. To be honest, it was a real challenge for us to teach machines “to think” and to work properly. It is very rewarding to see that we have achieved our goal. The pilot project is already in operation and demonstrates a high level of output , increased flexibility and zero waste, all that was totally impossible in a regular manual labor production”.