Fraxinews 2022 Bekina Boots 01 small

Following the production process, you chose to automate the finishing of the boots as well. Was this a necessity?

Thomas Vanderbeke: “Indeed it was. We were gradually starting to hit our peak capacity. To cope with the expected growth over the coming years, it has become increasingly clear that further automation is required. With this new installation, we are first and foremost eliminating five manual operations, thereby speeding up the finishing and packing processes. This also allows us to finish the boots in a more stable and consistent manner. The lasering of the unique code on the inside of the boot, along with the stamping of our logo on the outside, are now both entirely automated, guaranteeing that these are done in exactly the same place on every boot. Two birds with one stone!”

Frederiek Vanassche: “In addition, space has been provided within the installation to add additional machining stations. By doing so, we are prepared for even greater production, as well as more advanced automation in the future."

Thomas: “Future-proofing was a key prerequisite when it came to this installation. As we have grown accustomed to with Fraxinus, you were able to gain a quick understanding of what we were looking for, with the installation more or less worked out at the offer stage. This thorough preparation reassured us that the installation would effectively meet our high expectations.”

That’s great to hear! Besides the operations themselves, the new installation also saves you a lot of time when moving from one machining station to another.

Frederiek: “Exactly! Before, we used to have three minutes of downtime when switching between different types of boots, seeing the entire line grind to a halt. Given that we work with relatively small batches, we had to make these switches around 30-40 times per day. Thanks to the built-in RFID technology, we no longer need to manually intervene when making a switch. The moment the operator prepares the boot on the finishing and packing line, the tag is read by the system and all the information about the boot then appears. Instead of having to set all the operations themselves, the operator simply has to confirm. In the meantime, the installation keeps running. With this system, we are easily reclaiming a whole hour each day.”

RFID technology for boot making – is this something new?

Thomas: “RFID makes every boot 100% traceable right from the start of production to the boot’s end-of-life, which is indeed quite unique within the safety shoe and boot market. On the one hand, in case of any early defects, this enables us to identify a boot and improve our level of quality based on feedback from the market. On the other, the RFID tag opens up numerous possibilities for the future. We are currently researching a system for a food company where the RFID tag within the boot would be used to open doors during hands-free production. The tag then also becomes kind of a badge, just one of many examples of where RFID can add value.”

Can we take this as a warm invitation to innovate together?

Thomas: “Absolutely. Anyone with any ideas, whether for our boots or the Bekina Group as a whole, is welcome to contact me any time!”

Duly noted!


by Wesley Poissonnier (project engineer Fraxinus)

“The different machining posts are connected by a carousel system with linear motors. Each boot is automatically placed on a stand-alone conveyor cart so that it can be positioned correctly during the various processes. We start by lasering the code onto the inside of the boot. At the second post, this is degreased and the logo is stamped on the outside. A hangtag carrying information is then attached to the boot and the banding machine hangs a strip around it. Finally, a robot takes the pair off the conveyor and places them onto a buffer belt. At the end of this belt, an operator manually removes the boots before putting them in a box.”


by Hans Van Essche (CEO Fraxinus)

“As you can see, we combined a variety of operations to be performed within a short takt time. It has to be said, manipulating a semi-flexible product is no easy task. While usually around 20-30% of any given project would be comprised of new material for us, here, the percentage is a bit higher. Once again, the key to success appears to lie in two things that recur in every project: simplifying each step within a complex whole as much as possible, as well as listening carefully to the client's own expertise.”

Fraxinews 2022 Bekina Boots 01 small


Production, marketing and purchasing in Kluisbergen
Chicago logistics centre for US supply chain

750,000 pairs of boots per year

Worldwide in 80 countries

EUR 38 million

Bekina Group: 110, Bekina Boots: 60

more info at


We are happy to exchange ideas. Feel free to contact us for an introduction.

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