FIT4U (Framework of Integrated Technologies for User Centred Products) is a Collaborative Research Project funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme
FIT4U project aims at responding to the growing demand for consumer oriented product personalization by conceiving an Engineering Framework, meant as the set of tools and manufacturing technologies necessary to consumer centred product and process design and innovation in safety and sport footwear and accessories, particularly gloves.
Main results developed by the project are:
new technologies and devices for consumer virtual profile creation and product personalization;
innovative 3D integrated design tools and solutions dedicated to personalised consumer centred shoes and gloves ;
innovative high-performing materials.
new technologies for the fast production of differentiated lasts, footbeds and of new modular soles, and new process engineering tools based on lean production concepts.
PROJECT ACRONYM: FIT4U
PROJECT FULL TITLE: Framework of Integrated Technologies for User Centred Products
DURATION: 36 months
STARTING DATE: 1st July 2009
PROJECT NUMBER: 229336
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE: Theme 4 – NMP – Nanosciences,
Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies – Call FP7-NMP-2008-4.0-7
Total Budget: 5.709.500€
EU Contribution: 3.984.125€
Ongoing social and economic globalization processes will offer major challenges on the global market for consumer oriented manufacturing sectors. In particular, the shoes and gloves markets are expected to grow within the next 5 years, and the market niches for high value added shoes and gloves are expected to grow even faster. As a consequence there is today a unique opportunity for the European Footwear and Sport Industries to improve their competitiveness on such market segments.
To face such a challenge the present project will develop a new engineering framework for both products & processes integrating: new technologies and devices to integrate the consumer in shoes and gloves conception, specification and design; innovative 3D knowledge based integrated design tools; micro devices providing shoes and gloves with innovative sensing functionalities; innovative high-performing materials with self-adaptive capabilities; adaptive production processes and technologies.
The expected outcome of the proposed project will be an integrated technology framework for the engineering of fully personalised shoes and gloves based on a 3 to 5 days time-to-market criterion. Such a framework will be validated and assessed on pilot production lines, and new differentiated consumer-centred shoes and gloves will be delivered as fully engineered prototypes.
Ongoing social and economic globalization processes will offer major challenges on the global market for consumer oriented manufacturing sectors.
To face such a global competition challenge new competitive strategies based on new consumer centred products capabilities and on new industrial paradigms must be conceived and developed, particularly in relevant manufacturing sectors characterised by rapid market dynamics and large numbers of SMEs.
FIT4U project aims at responding to such needs by conceiving an Engineering Framework
i.e. methods, tools and technologies will be developed, necessary to consumer centred product and process innovation – addressing footwear and accessories, particularly gloves, for specific market segments as professional-safety, free time, and sport.
Such market segments have been identified by the stakeholders of the European Technology Platform on Footwear Products and Processes and of the European Platform for Sports and Innovation as core pulling segments.
Pilot implementations in industrial settings demonstrating feasibility of new concepts and solutions as for shoes and gloves will be developed with reference to two specific market segments: safety/professional for workers – particularly addressing wide applicative sectors like construction and metal – and sport – considering running and outdoor/trekking.
Economic, social and strategic impacts for the European value chain, in particular for SME manufacturers, will be:
the capability of addressing the high value added global market segment for consumer goods with high-growth potential;
the improved quality of life of consumers in the targeted applicative sectors, through the availability of affordable, personalised products;
advanced technologies and knowledge-based products will support competition as well as fight against counterfeiting so preventing relocation of activities to other areas of the world.
Specific addressed RTD topics will include:
new technologies and devices, based on tools for virtualization of consumer profile and requirements, as well as acquisition and computation of relevant consumer feet metrics by means of novel biomechanical sensor network, will be conceived to integrate the consumer in shoes and gloves conception, specification and design. This will enable the creation of a knowledge base for responding to consumer need in terms of fitting/comfort/functionalities in targeted segments;
innovative 3D knowledge based integrated design tools and solutions dedicated to personalised consumer centred shoes and gloves as for biomechanical aspects, based on measured consumer data and virtual profile. The product will be designed embodying identified parameters for comfort and fitting, taking also into account technological constraints derived from materials;
innovative high-performing materials to optimally fit consumers physique and ergonomics, whilst guaranteeing comfort and health/ safety through features like breathability, antifungi etc., specifically conceived from a common development process and targeting shoes and gloves in the professional/safety and sport segments;
new production technologies and process engineering: at shopfloor level a new fast production machine for differentiated lasts and footbeds and a new modular sole will provide SMEs means to quickly realize product based on comfort and fitting, endowed with high performance for safety and sport applications; on a larger scale, growing complexity of consumer product differentiation and optimization in production lines will be addressed through dedicated tool for lean production concepts.