Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SHAPING METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURING A SHOE WITH A SINGLE-PIECE UPPER, AND SHOE THUS OBTAINED
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/153914
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to the field of footwear manufacturing and in particular, the object is a method and a shaping apparatus for manufacturing a shoe with completely smooth and continuous shoe upper on the surface extension thereof, that is without visible joins.

Inventors:
BARONE, Remo (Via Ville 67, Terranuova Bracciolini, 52028, IT)
Application Number:
IB2017/051332
Publication Date:
September 14, 2017
Filing Date:
March 07, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LUXURY GOODS INTERNATIONAL (L.G.I.) S.A. (Via Industria, 6814 Cadempino, 6814, CH)
International Classes:
A43D21/08; A43D21/12; A43D21/14
Foreign References:
GB1102695A1968-02-07
GB1166641A1969-10-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SOLDATINI, Andrea et al. (Società Italiana Brevetti S.p.A, Corso dei Tintori 25, Firenze, 50122, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for manufacturing a shoe, comprising a shoe upper shaping step starting from a flat blank (S) that is applied to a plantar face (1a) of a shoe last (1) copying at least in a heel region the anatomic model of the shoe to be manufactured, the last comprising said plantar face (1a), side flanks, a first, longitudinal axis (X), and a second axis (Z) orthogonal with said plantar face, the blank comprising an outer peripheral portion (S') adapted to fall over said side flanks of the last, wherein the method starts by making use of a unitary blank (S) comprising a whole and continuous sheet of material, and wherein said shaping step provides shaping a heel region of the upper by exerting an extensive pulling force over said portion (S') of said blank (S), said pulling force having at least a substantial component along a third axis (Ζ') angled with respect to said second axis (Z) by an angle (a), and carrying out a plurality of cycles of coordinated and combined displacements of the last along said first, longitudinal axis (X) and said third axis (Ζ').

2. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said blank is substantially ring-like, comprising an outer edge and an inner edge, the outer edge being the one to result at the top of the shoe once the upper has been shaped and bordering said peripheral portion (S'), the inner edge being the one to result at the region where the bottom of the shoe is mounted.

3. The method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the last (1) is supported with its plantar face upwards.

4. The method according to any of the previous claims, wherein once the shaping of the heel region has been completed the upper is stabilized by exerting a pressing force on the blank against the rear and the sides of the last at the heel region.

5. The method according to any of the previous claims, wherein said blank (S) is treated with water and softener agents prior to the shaping step.

6. An apparatus for shaping a heel region of a shoe upper starting from a flat blank (S), the apparatus comprising: a shoe last (1) copying at least at a heel region the anatomic model of a shoe to be manufactured, the last providing for a plantar face (1a), a first, longitudinal axis (X), and a second axis (Z) orthogonal with said plantar face; last support means (2, 3) adapted to displace the last in reciprocating fashion in an independent fashion along at least said first, longitudinal axis (X) and along a third axis (Ζ') angled with respect to said second axis (Z) by an angle (a); blank clamping means (4) adapted to grasp and pull an outer peripheral portion (S') of the blank (S) resting on the plantar face of the last; and control means adapted to control the operation of said support means (2, 3) and said clamping means (4).

7. The apparatus according to claim 6, wherein said support means comprise first support means (2) adapted to displace the last (1) in a reciprocating fashion along said third axis (Z').

8. The apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said first support means (2) comprise linear actuator means (21) extending along said third axis (Ζ') and comprising a stem (21a) with an outer end to which a sliding guide (22) is integrated for a sliding connection to said last along said first, longitudinal axis (X), the guide (22) being linked to the heel region at an opposite part with respect to said plantar face.

9. The apparatus according to any of the claims from 6 to 8, wherein said support means comprise second support means (3) adapted to displace said last (1) in a reciprocating fashion along said first, longitudinal axis (X) and said third axis (Ζ'), comprising first linear actuator means (31) operating along said third axis (Ζ') and second linear actuator means (32) operating along the first, longitudinal axis (X) and linked between said first linear actuator means (31) and a toe region of the last (1). 10. The apparatus according to any of the claims from 6 to 9, wherein said clamping means (4) comprise an array of clamps (41) arranged around the shoe last, adapted to grasp the blank material at the outer edge and exert a pulling force thereon according to said third axis (Ζ') or in any case according to a direction having a substantial component along said third axis (Ζ').

1 1. The apparatus according to any of the claims from 6 to 10, comprising a stabilizing cushion (5) comprising an arm (51) along said first, longitudinal axis (X) and movable along the same axis, the arm carrying at an end pointing to said last (1) a U- shaped bracket (52), adapted to be placed sideways around the heel region to press the blank material against the shoe last.

12. The apparatus according to any of the claims from 6 to 11 , wherein said support means (2, 3) support said last (1) with its plantar face upwards.

Description:
SHAPING METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MANUFACTURING A SHOE WITH A SINGLE-PIECE UPPER, AND SHOE THUS OBTAINED

DESCRIPTION

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to the field of footwear manufacturing and in particular, it concerns is a method and a shaping apparatus for manufacturing a shoe with completely smooth and whole shoe upper on the surface extension thereof, that is without joining seams.

Background art

A step of the production process is known in footwear manufacturing, the so- called "shaping" step, in which a flat blank, for example and typically, but not necessarily, made of leather/hide, is given the three-dimensional configuration of a shoe upper, that is the part of the shoe which rises from the sole to envelop the foot sideways and at the top. The present description refers in particular to a ladies' shoe model, for example of the "pumps" type, but the concepts here developed may be applied to other types of shoe, also men's shoes, for which there is a substantial correspondence of the production process, according to what can be immediately understood by the skilled person.

The shaping is performed by arranging the blank on a special last, that is a three- dimensional body which reproduces the appearance and anatomical features of the shoe model to be manufactured; due to the effect of a heat and mechanical operation, the blank is deformed to copy the outer side surface of the last, up to obtaining the outline desired.

The blank is obviously profiled according to the specific model of shoe to be manufactured. In general, in automated methods, it nevertheless has a shape according to which the rear region of the shoe upper is modelled with the aid of at least one seam. Such method of proceeding, and in particular the expedient of the rear seam, becomes necessary to avoid unpleasant (and as such, unacceptable) creases or folds that are otherwise almost unavoidable when trying to deform a unitary band of significant height (such as the one required at the heel level) in order to copy a surface with a pronounced curvature. The aforementioned seam therefore is in fact a standard for shoes such as the ones to which reference has been made. In certain solutions of handicraft nature, such expedient has been overcome by using a whole blank with a ring-like evolution and by implementing skilled and patient straightening and nailing manual work closely associated with the expertise and experience of the craftsperson. Such work therefore is founded on non-repeatable and non-transferable operating steps, and in any case requires extremely lengthy times which are only compatible with the handicraft production of very small lots.

Summary of the invention

It is the object of the present invention to overcome such circumstances by providing a method and a shaping apparatus which allow to manufacture shoes, in particular but not necessarily women's pumps, provided with completely smooth and continuous shoe upper, that is without joining seams, in an automated manner and therefore with production times compatible with a high-end industrial production, and with completely satisfactory aesthetical results, in particular in terms of the complete lack of folds or creases on the outer surface of the shoe upper.

Such object is achieved by the method and apparatus according to the invention, the essential features of which are defined by the first and sixth of the appended claims.

Brief description of the drawings

The features and advantages of the method and shaping apparatus for manufacturing a shoe according to the present invention will become apparent from the following description of an embodiment thereof, made by way of a non-limiting example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

- figure 1 is a schematic and illustrative view of the fundamental part of the apparatus according to the invention;

- figure 2 depicts, in isolation for the sake of clarity, a movable last support for use in the apparatus in figure 1 ;

- figure 3 is again an illustration similar to the one in figure 1 , with the last covered by a blank in a first step of the method according to the invention; and - figure 4 shows the last enveloped by the blank in a final step of the method according to the invention, showing also the operation of a stabilizing "cushion".

Detailed description of the invention

With reference to the above figures, according to one aspect of the invention, in a method for manufacturing a shoe, in particular but not exclusively a women's shoe of the pumps type, a shoe upper shaping step is carried out starting from a unitary blank S, that is made with a whole and continuous sheet of material (for example but not necessarily leather), typically substantially ring-like, where the outer edge is the one intended to be at the top of the shoe once the upper has been shaped, and the inner edge is the one on which the sole is or will be mounted.

The shaping is performed on a shoe last 1 which reproduces the anatomic model of the shoe to be manufactured according to well-known techniques in the field. Nevertheless, the last according to the invention has certain peculiarities which are detailed below. It is useful to introduce here a system of reference axes in relation to the last, and more precisely a longitudinal axis X which corresponds to the heel-toe evolution parallel to a plantar face 1a of the last in the heel region, and an axis Z orthogonal to said plantar face and therefore to the axis X itself.

According to one aspect of the invention, the last 1 is supported, with the plantar face 1a upwards and leaving free both such face and a rear surface portion 1 b in the heel region, so as to be movable both along the axis X and along an axis Z' that will be defined hereafter. In one embodiment, such results are achieved by a pair of supports 2, 3 which are connected to the top part of the last (but which becomes at a lower side in the upside-down configuration with which it is supported).

A first support 2 comprises a linear actuator 21 , such as a pneumatic cylinder, extending along an axis Z' spaced angularly by an angle a which is not null and indicatively is less than 40° with respect to the axis Z. The actuator 21 has a stem 21 a which integrally supports, at an outer end, a guide 22 for sliding engagement of the last along the axis X. The guide 22 rests on the heel/ankle region, on the side opposite to the plantar face, and is correspondingly angled by an angle a with respect to the axis Z' of the stem 21a. The axis Z' is a vertical axis in a typical and preferred solution, and accordingly the axis X is inclined in turn by an angle a with respect to the horizontal. A second support 3 operates instead at the toe region and comprises in turn a first linear actuator 31 of the second support operating parallel to the axis Z'. The movable element of the actuator 31 is integral with a second linear actuator 32 of the second support, which is arranged along the axis X, and with a stem 32a fastened to the last to control the displacement thereof along the axis X.

Therefore, on the whole, the two supports 31 and 32 are adapted to cause the displacement of the last independently along the axes X and Z'. The operational core of the apparatus also provides for a clamping device 4 comprising an array of clamps 41 which evolve around the last, and more precisely around the first support 2, and are adapted to grasp the blank material on the outer edge and to exert an adjustable pulling force again along a direction substantially corresponding to the axis Z' or in any case with a substantial component in the direction orthogonal to the plantar face of the last.

A further component which completes the exemplified embodiment is, as shown in figure 4, a so-called stabilizing "cushion" 5 comprising an arm 51 arranged along the axis X and movable along the same axis, the arm carrying, at the end pointing to the last, a U-shaped bracket 52 adapted to be placed against the rear and sideways around the same last at the heel region to carefully press the blank material against the last.

The components described above are controlled by drive and control systems of obvious nature and implementation on the basis of automation average skills, in general the systems including automatic, semi-automatic or manual solutions capable of ensuring functionality within the following terms.

The shaping method according to the invention therefore is performed by positioning the blank - preliminary processed to increase its deformability (if e.g. made of leather, with water and softener agents of known type) - on the last 1 , by resting the same blank on the plantar face upwards and causing the peripheral flaps to fall downwards on the side flanks of the last and on the surface of the heel region 1 b, thus exceeding the height of the last (measured according to the axis Z') so that the material along the outer edge may be clamped and pulled by the clamps 41. The material can be secured on the last (even if it will not always be required) with the use of anchoring hooks provided on the last itself, or by applying elements such as nails or metal staples.

At this stage, depicted in figure 3, the two movable supports 2, 3 come into operation, which through a coordinated and combined drive, perform displacement cycles of the last along the two directions indicated above, cycles which progressively but gently stretch the material around the last, thus avoiding the formation of folds and creases unless in the outer portion S' of the shape of the last, that is in the clamping point of the creases or in close proximity to it (figure 4), a portion which in any case will not be visible after the successive shoe mounting and finishing steps.

The combined and coordinated drive, even in a mutually independent manner, of the displacement of the last along the two directions and the pulling of the blank material by the clamps achieves the shaping in a single piece also in the heel region, despite the significant height of the material. Once the operational sequence is complete, the blank, which at that point has taken on the shape of shoe upper, is stabilized with the introduction of the cushion 5, which by gently pressing the blank material against the last for a given time, contributes to stabilizing the shaping operation previously performed.

Then the semi-finished item thus obtained is guided towards the subsequent traditional processing steps intended to manufacture the finished shoe, including among other things, in addition obviously to the assembly with the tread (of leather or of plastic material), the shaping of the toe manufactured with another last and at a later time.

The shoe thus obtained therefore will have a completely smooth and whole shoe upper on the outside, that is without a visible seam, such as to offer an outstanding appearance and superior perceived quality. Such results are also achieved with automation modes which do not involve constructive solutions of special complexity, also in connection with production and management/maintenance costs. Obviously, the shoe upper without a sea, to which reference is made is the outer shoe upper, being it possible for the inside of the shoe to have finishing elements which may include seams. Other variants and/or modifications may be made to the method and shaping apparatus for manufacturing a shoe with whole shoe upper according to the present invention, without departing from the scope of protection of the invention itself as defined by the appended claims.