So far, 16 prototype Shoestring solutions have been created, eight of which are being built and tested in an industrial setting. These ‘tried and tested’ solutions are ready for companies to take ‘off-the-shelf’ and use themselves, with the option of support from Shoestring.  

Below are examples from companies who have tried and tested Shoestring solutions:  

One company keen to explore how digitalisation could help improve productivity is family-run manufacturer Buchanan Orthotics, which makes modular, bespoke and specialist footwear for clients such as the NHS. 

After working alongside the Shoestring team to assess needs and develop a solution that easily bolts onto their operations, the company is now piloting a job tracking solution.  

Where the company previously used a paper sheet to track orders through the system, low-cost scanners are now being used to digitise the location and status of jobs. This cross-site job tracking pilot enables workers to print tracking labels, record when a job enters and leaves the facility using barcode scanning, and then store all these records centrally in the cloud, so that live job progress can be viewed at any time. 

This simple but effective solution demonstrates the combination of openly available and other low-cost off-the-shelf software technologies to collect and record typical manufacturing activities observed on a shopfloor. Management is able to see where all the jobs are in the queue and how they are progressing; ensure no orders are lost or misplaced; identify capacity issues for technicians; advise customer job status; and see jobs close to completion. 

The Shoestring solution has improved customer dispatch time and enabled production planning improvements. Now that we have seen what an impact such a simple solution can make, we are inspired to look into further solutions. The simplicity of this is what has sold it.
Ryan Currie
Commercial Manager, Buchanan
Speaking at Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring at Fife College (online workshop), June 2021


Watch these videos for some examples of solutions development using low-cost components. These solutions have been developed to address some of the priority needs identified by SME manufacturers in the requirements gathering workshops.

Part identification and tracking

This demo shows a low-cost digital solution for the identification and tracking of parts in a factory.

Augmented reality status viewer

Dr Greg Hawkridge explains an augmented reality tool for checking status of factory inventory.

Machine monitoring

Dr Yedige Tlegenov demonstrates the use of low-cost sensors to monitor the status of factory machines and equipment.

Voice-assisted assembly

Dr Greg Hawkridge demonstrates the use of voice-assisted assembly using Alexa.

Touchscreen CNC router

This demo shows simple touchscreen technology for CNC routers.


For information, more demos and examples, get in touch.