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SATRA speaker at UITIC conference

Reporting on a recent major footwear industry event held in Portugal.

The International Union of Shoe Industry Technicians (UITIC) is an organisation that aims to help in the development of technical knowledge in the footwear industry. This is achieved by arranging regular international events and by taking the initiative in setting up exchanges of technological information between its members.

The UITIC’s main activity is to organise an international technical conference to tackle the latest technical challenges faced by companies in the footwear industry. Over the years, these issues have included the use of automated stitching and computerised management, as well as design work, the introduction of new materials, quality assurance and training. The event is regularly attended by more than 400 footwear technicians. Since its inception in 1972, the UITIC conference has been held in such cities as Athens, Belgrade, Budapest, Chennai, Milan and Tunis.

SATRA’s Dr Christine Powley-Williams, Lynne Fenyk, Zach Armitage and Charlotte Fowle attended this year’s event – the 20th edition – in the Portuguese city of Porto. For the two days before the conference, several groups of delegates visited a variety of factories in the vicinity. As a result of this UITIC arrangement, Christine, Lynne, Zach and Charlotte were able to travel to several companies of various sizes, where they saw finished footwear, bags, materials and components being produced.

At the conference

Christine had been invited to make one of the conference lectures, which she gave on the subject of ‘addressing the challenges of recruitment and skills provision in the global footwear industry’. During her presentation, Christine highlighted that despite advances in automation and production technology, the footwear industry still relies heavily on a skilled labour force to meet the demands of global consumption. She also considered why the industry is competing with many other manufacturing sectors to attract employees, and explained how some of the challenges faced by 21st century shoemakers might be overcome.

Other topics covered by conference speakers included ‘main evolutions for the footwear sector’, ‘how fashion trends can be integrated into product development’, ‘virtual fitting room based on augmented reality’, the road towards mass development and manufacturing of custom-made footwear’, and ‘an integrated approach for a more sustainable footwear world’. SATRA’s work was recognised by a number of speakers, who mentioned it in the course of their lectures.

During the two days of this very well attended conference, a row of screens in the foyer of the facility provided delegates with various technical presentations. SATRA provided two reports – the first, written by Charlotte, was on the subject of ‘resistance to waterborne abrasive particulate’, and the other, by Zach, considered SATRA’s investigation into the shape and size of adult feet in the UK.

The photograph above shows Dr Christine Powley-Williams speaking at the conference.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 18 of the July/August 2018 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

Other articles from this issue »