Jun 13, 2011
3DPrintingNews
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Shoemaker grows business with 3D Printing

The UK based, global shoe manufacturer Clarks has transformed its product development process with the aid of 3D printing technology.

Clarks 3D Printed Shoes
3D printed prototypes reduce product development lead times and costs for Clarks

 

Breaking away from the traditional approach to shoe design, Clarks has introduced 3D printing to their design process, leading to considerable savings in both development costs and lead times. The traditional approach begins with hand sketches on paper, which are reviewed and revised several times over until a product concept is approved. The upper materials are then sourced and the concept sent to a shoe factory, and then you wait for several weeks for the sample show to arrive. The sample is then reviewed and original sketches once again revised and modified prototypes ordered until the final product design is reached.

For Clarks this lengthy and often costly design process has been thoroughly modernised with the help of 3d printing technology. After the initial paper sketch, designs are moved to 3D CAD software where designs can be manipulated with minimal effort until product managers are happy with the on-screen concept. And then with the simple push of a button a prototype shoe can be quickly printed in the design office, shrinking the design process significantly.

For Clarks digital development manager Ross Arthurs 3D printing has allowed Clarks to “respond to the market faster than ever” and “to evolve from the best shoemakers in the world into the best innovators in the world” (TCT Magazine 04/11).

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