Nov 24, 2017 | By Julia

Renowned Italian shoe institute The Footwear Polytechnic of Riviera del Brenta is ploughing ahead with its recent partnership with 3D printer manufacturer German RepRap. First announced in September 2016, the collaboration saw the launch of the Polytechnic’s state-of-the-art FFLab, a digital laboratory specializing in new 3D scanning and 3D printing technologie. Since then, things have never been better for the Polytechnic institute, which is keen to collide the ancient tradition of Italian shoemaking with the technologies of the present and future.

Founded officially in 2001, the postsecondary institution can trace its roots back to 1268, with the first brotherhood of Calegheri shoemakers in Venice. After centuries of building a world-renowned reputation, the Venetian footwear district witnessed another surge in 1898 with the founding of the territory’s first major shoe factory. In 1923, the school of Design for Arts and Crafts was instated, catapulting the industry into the modern day, with specialist programs for training designers, model makers, and technicians. Positioning itself against this ancient lineage, The Footwear Polytechnic of Riviera del Brenta aims to carry on traditional footwear knowledge, while expanding it via vigorous research.

Most recently, that innovation has taken hold through the success of its FFLab. As a rapid prototyping laboratory, the FFLab is dedicated to offering both Italian and international companies new opportunities for product development. Two methods are incorporated into the lab’s capabilities. The first is designing footwear components in digital format using 3D CAD technology, then 3D printing the prototype on the German RepRap x400 PRO V3. The other method uses reverse engineering: via Geomagic Capture 3D scanners by 3D Systems, the physical model of a CAD file can be edited as needed and then 3D printed accordingly. Rhinoceros and Geomagic Wrap are the lab’s preferred software.

According to FFLab representatives, these technologies have allowed the Polytechnic school to meet the demands and needs of the companies working in the institute. “3D printing allows companies to achieve in a shorter time and with reasonable costs [an] aesthetic and functional model, and small production series for sampling and fashion shows,” says Alice Marcato, manager of FFLab and bio-engineer at the institute’s R&D department. “The component prototyping [facilitates] parts which make up the shoe such as forms, insoles, heels, soles and accessories. All can be realized in reduced times.”

So far, the school’s investment has paid off. The FFLab can already boast collaborations with Parsons School of Design in New York, as well as Nike and chemical industry leaders the Basf Group. The Institute is also the official host of the School of Design and Technique of Footwear and Leather, a major initiative that supports 250 members per year, 4800 hours of training, and 80 companies involved in the realization of educational projects.

 

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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