Today Alta Zapateria figures among Spain's leading shoe manufacturers and has retail stores in cities from New York to Paris, Hong Kong to Sidney. Now in its 3rd generation and famously rich in tradition, the company is under the careful management and continued development by owner Antonio Albadalejo. Even the Spanish king is said to be among Carmina's customers.
Balancing tradition and high technology
Each Carmina shoe is handmade in a manufacturing process that may involve as many as 300 production steps. Using the so-called Goodyear welt technique, a strip of leather – the welt – is first stitched to the upper. The resulting gap is then filled with a natural cork compound and the sole stitched to the welt from the bottom.
Despite the strong focus on traditional craftsmanship, Alta Zapateria is open to employing modern production equipment. With the investment in a Zünd G3 cutter with projection system, digital leather cutting became an integral part of company's production workflow. For CEO Antonio Albadalejo and his team, a primary goal of the cutter acquisition was to preserve Alta Zapateria's many proprietary templates in digital form. Other requirements for the new cutting system were to increase the precision of the leather cutting process and to speed up the time-consuming punching operations dictacted by intricate hole patterns. "In our testing, we quickly discovered that the Zünd G3 cutter would fulfill these needs perfectly. What convinced us was Zünd's unique ability to combine high levels of performance, precision, and reliability as manifested in the G3. With the new cutting system, we are taking a step into high technology while still maintaining our identity as a high-end shoe manufacturer who takes great pride in traditional production methods."
Up until now innumerable cardboard templates were stored in boxes, requiring maintenance and organization that became increasingly complex and laborious. By digitizing the company's exclusive templates, Alta Zapateria has been able to significantly increase production security. What's more, implementing model changes or modifications of existing templates has become a lot quicker and easier.
The G3 cutter is used for cutting patterns and templates as well as for production. Only particularly challenging leathers, such as the extremely tough shell cordovan, are still being cut by hand because of the variations in thicknesses.
Even though increases in productivity were not one of Alta Zapateria's primary concerns, the management is thrilled with the speed and accuracy in which the Zünd Punching Module executes hole patterns: "Manually punching hole patterns is very challenging. Even the most experienced craftsmen cannot come close to the precision and speed of the Zünd cutter."