Leather has been used by man since prehistoric times when animal skins as well as hides were used as clothing; as bedding; to make shoes; build shelters; make weapons & armor; make ornaments & decorations; and also for trade.
Gucci, Prada and Salvatore Ferragamo are some of the world-top class luxury leather products companies. Nonetheless, their products; such as leather bags or their unique & sophisticated designs.
These companies share something common
However, they are top Italian brands; which have been and still dominate the leather market because of their unique tastes; superb designs; high-class materials; as well as awesome styles and patterns; which are always rhyme with the latest trends in the fashion industry.
This doesn’t mean that there are no companies from other countries with the capability, creativity and technique to design; as well as produce quality leather goods with unique originality. Longchamp, a French luxury leather goods company is also revered; due to its top-quality leather bags.
In the production of leather products today
Companies need to be well equipped with the most unique geometric designs, attractive architectural sketches & models and awesome patterns. They also need to come up with a technique for production; which eliminates chances of error. It’s able to anticipate market suitability of any leather products manufactured with minimal costs under a relatively short period of time.
So how can small companies enter the market and be at a position to compete with these leather giants profitably?
Entry may have been difficult
Be that as it may; it was very costly 2 or 3 decades ago; but not any more. Courtesy of computer technology; which now blends well with the industry, companies, as well as businesses can today use Computers Aided Designs (CAD) software; Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software; and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE).
Among other computers software, applications; as well as programs; which are tailored and customized to aid the production of leather products; which reflect the latest trends and tastes of the market. I wish there was software for losing weight.
Then I could get thinner; as well as look good in fashionable clothing, etc. Some motivational software would be nice; to remind me to stay on my diet, exercise; stuff like that. Maybe that talking moose, motivations power of suggestion software.
However, the software and computers programs also lay strong emphasis on the uniqueness; as well as the establishment of great originality of leather goods; while expressing rich creativity in the leather products’ complete life cycle. This reduces cost of production and enables the timely production of leather products tailored to meet the demands; as well as specific preferences of the buyers.
Product Data Management in Leather Industry
In any production of goods or services for sale; there is always need to efficiently manage any data used or resulted in any stage of the manufacturing process and all information; which relates to the production process.
However, this is also is true in the leather industry. To achieve this, Product Data Management (PDM) software are used to consolidate. They also store all vital data and information systematically in a single system for easier retrieval.
The data and Information stored includes :
CAD data; 3D models; manufacturing procedures and instructions; resources; notes taken; as well as the processing documents.
Nonetheless, it should support all business needs and requirements of the data stored or manipulated during the manufacturing process. The system should also provide security to the data; as well as enable the manipulation or processing of data. Along with the data configuration management.
The PDM system should enable file or data ownership, revision of data, data version control; (checking; as well as checkout of the data files); as well as the release statuses of data.
Therefore, the security functionality of the PDM system should ensure that data is safe and available to the correct users throughout the products life-cycle. It should also protect the intellectual property rights.
Data Processing and Manipulation
Smooth workflow; as well as efficient processing capabilities enable; both internal product team; as well as the external partners to work as a team in the product life-cycle.
Data configuration Management.
Under any circumstances, DM system provides the vital information; as well as necessary visibility required for managing and presenting data and other resources.
Advantages of PDM :
- Retrieve valuable data easily and quickly.
- Improves production process; as well as reduces products life-cycle time.
- Helps to reduce development errors; hence lower costs.
- Ensures the improvement of a products value chain.
- Ensures that all business; and third party regulatory requirements are observed and met.
- Facilitates the optimization of operational costs; as well as resources.
- Facilitates communication and collaboration between business partners; as well as customers.
- Provides vital info; as well as the necessary visibility required for effective decision-making.
Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) in the Leather Industry
As a matter of fact, the 3D design; which has been produced patterned and graded; might require some improvements to enhance the style and to reflect changes in tastes; as well as trends in the market.
Therefore, there is need to use CAE (computer aided engineering) software; which simulate the real production of a leather product with style and tastes of the buyers. CAE enables the improvement to the 3D designs and assists in resolving any manufacturing problems; which may be encountered in the final production of the 3D design.
Nevertheless, it takes into account the simulation of the 3D design produced, its validation and optimization; as well as manufacturing tools & resources. Ultimately, it outlines the best processes needed to produce specific leather products.
Typically, CAE comprises of 3 simulation processes:
- Problem solving
— Pre-processing —
In this step, the CAE software helps to produce a model or prototype of the product; which incorporates the physical and geometric properties of the 3D design.
— Problem solving —
Any loads or constraints observed and documented in the pre-production of leather products in the pre-processing stage are solved in this step by a CAE software.
In some complex engineering problems; the simulation of multiple phenomena facing the production process is represented. Hence a multi-physics solution CAE software is required.
— Post-processing —
This is the final step of CAE simulation; it involves the validation; as well as optimization of the 3D design to ensure that the production process is smooth, reliable and efficient. If everything works as expected; the products can now be mass-produced for sale.
However, If the CAE simulation suggests that the product manufacturing is not feasible; then engineer or users needs to go back to the drawing board.
Advantages of CAE :
- CAE helps to reduce product production & development cost; as well as time; by ensuring that the simulation captures all vital details. Hence the product will meet the best-desired qualities and it’s durable.
- CAE helps to make the most appropriate design decisions based on the impact on performance as simulated.
- CAE enables to evaluation and refining of the design through simulation instead of physical prototype testing. This not only save time; but money and other resources.
- Performance insights and trends can be forecast earlier in the development process when any changes implemented to the design to suit market are cheap to make; thus avoiding losses later.
Computers Aided Design (CAD) in industry
— Computers Aided Design —
This is the use of pre-programmed computer software for sketching and drawing models of leather products in 2D architectural designs; providing a complete visualization of the model in 3D concept design and eventually the pattern engineering and grading of products.
— 2D architectural design and art —
This usually provides the basic ideas; as well asconcepts on how the product will finally look and this can be observed in 3D design visualization. CAD software are usually incorporated with design templates for specific leather products; e.g. shoes the user is offered the ability to upload his/her own sketch or to modify existing ones.
The sketches can be scanned into the computers or hand drawn.
As a matter of fact, the user has the ability to modify the sketch according to the customizations preferred; e.g. adding logos textures and other decorations.
— 3D technology and concept —
This is then used to enable a complete view of the leather product; which has been designed from any angle. Most soft-wares have improved graphic capabilities enabling the best visualization. Thus reduce the margin of error.
Pattern engineering and grading —
Different products have various sizes to match client’s requirements. CAD software’s enable the grading and sorting of a certain type of leather product; according to the different characteristics; e.g. shoe sizes. Pattern engineering involves the use the CAD software to reuse an idea or pattern; which is general and usually repeated in several leather products of the same type; e.g. Logos.
However, these processes; as well as techniques are referred to as crafting. In leather crafting, animal hides and skins are used to produce various work of art; by involving various techniques.
Leather molding —
This technique involves soaking of leather in relatively warm water so that the leather material can soften and make it pliable. Thus the material can be shaped/molded into leather forms required. When the leather material is left to dry it assumes the shape into which it was shaped.
Leather carving —
This is the process of using tools to compress moist leather on a 2D architectural design. Thus the leather will result into 3D model; which depicts the real art intended to be produced.
Leather patterning —
This technique involves the use of patterned tools or stamps to create a pre-designed imprint on a leather material.
Leather dying —
This process involves the use of dyes; which are made of either spirit or alcohol to pigment/stain a leather material.
Due to the wide use of leather
After all; to produce a variety of fashion accessories, foot wear; as well as clothing. The great need to have these products adapt to the dynamic tastes, styles and trends of the fashion industry; computer technology has been used to complement development in various ways; which include:
- 2D architectural design and 3D modelling
- Production of custom designs
- Sketching; as well as model drawing
- Pattern engineering and grading
- Leather engineering and manufacturing
- Costing; as well as Documentation
- Project management
Anyways, to achieve all this; Computers Aided Design (CAD) technology is used in the leather industry. However, it involves the process of 2D architectural designs; as well as the visualization of the design in 3D concept; also the design documentation.
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