Today, adhesive application and assembly in the footwear industry continues to be mostly performed manually.
Complex 3D-surfaces, a high variety of substrates combined with the need for a highly precise adhesive application and substrate positioning have so far limited the rise of automation in this sector. There have been numerous industry activities to automate the application, which have largely failed for several reasons:
– New processes struggle to meet the throughput, precisision of application and deliver the desired product properties.
– Usage of existing adhesive solutions for e.g. spray applications suffer from limited processing stability due to clogging and lead to the necessity to mask parts of the shoe.
This talk will focus on how working jointly together along the value chain on adhesive raw material design, formulation and robot assisted automation allowed us to find unconventional solutions to the above mentioned problems.
By combining advanced PU hot-melt formulations with a force controlled robotic application via cobot technology and automated glue path generation, we present – to our knowledge – the first fully automated production cell for footwear adhesive application and assembly.
We will further discuss challenges of the application and unique solutions that helped us to establish a material and energy efficient, as well as highly productive adhesive application and assembly process.
Co-authors: Sergio Dulio, Alessio Stefanini, Marcello Taglietti, Emiliano Bozatto, Dr. Dirk Achten