Adidas Speedfactory: Robotic Innovation

The Economist: “Behind closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape. That it will use robots and novel production techniques such as additive manufacturing (known as 3D printing) is not surprising for Germany … What is unique about this factory is that it will not be making cars, aircraft or electronics but trainers (athletic shoes) … an $80bn-a-year industry that has been offshored largely to China, Indonesia and Vietnam. By bringing production home, this factory is out to reinvent an industry.”

“The Speedfactory, as the Ansbach plant is called, belongs to Adidas … The machines carrying out this work will be highly automated and use processes such as computerised knitting, robotic cutting and additive manufacturing … Driven by software, the robots, knitting machines and 3D printers take their instructions directly from the computer-design program, so they can switch from making one thing to another quickly, without having to stop production for what can amount to several days in order to retool conventional machines and instruct manual workers.”

“Sneakerheads are likely to approve … Leaving behind manual production methods will allow Adidas to come up with novel shapes and finishes. One new material the firm has already experimented with is Biosteel, a synthetic silk made by AMSilk, a German biotech company. Production will also become more customised, perhaps even with bespoke trainers fashioned from a computer scan of how a person walks or runs.”
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Tim Manners/Brand X Ventures | Jan 23rd, 2017 | , , , ,