The most striking thing about the Mont Blanc leather factory, which we visited last month, was the pairing of modern computer technology and traditional leather craftsmanship.
Few leather factories have good quality control machinery, and none have some of the machines Mont Blanc have installed – because they designed them themselves. (There is a great one for testing belt buckles I’ll write about later.)
In this video, a mechanical arm taken from the automotive industry is being used to test the strength of a bag handle. Various lifts and spins are performed hundreds of times to make sure the handle – and its hardware – are sufficiently strong robust.
How accurate the testing is, of course, depends on the programming of the machine. And in the opinion of the Mont Blanc engineers, the biggest points of weakness are when a handle is twisted, or when it is lifted to head height (to put it into an overhead locker, for example). Hence the actions on display here.
I’m not always a fan of the Mont Blanc aesthetic – which has a tendency towards the clean and clinical – but the quality control side was fascinating.