Adidas shifts robotic Speedfactory activities to Asia

Adidas will transfer the use of its Speedfactory technologies to Asia by the end of this year. Two existing suppliers there will use the innovative methods to design and produce athletic footwear in a matter of weeks rather than months. The company expects this to result in better utilization of existing production capacity and more flexibility in product design.

The Adidas Speedfactories are based around the use of intelligent robotic technology to create uniquely designed high-performance sporting goods faster than ever before. Although the new production methods were developed at the two Speedfactories in Ansbach (Germany) and Atlanta (USA), production there will be discontinued by April 2020 at the latest.

These robotic facilities were originally seen as a way for Adidas to profitably produce footwear in high-cost, developed economies. Adidas now claims that combining these new methods with the existing technical possibilities of its Asian suppliers will allow for more variations of Speedfactory footwear models – not only running shoes, but also other product categories – in the future. These will continue to be characterized by a particularly short production time, allowing the company to continue to respond quickly to consumer needs.

Collaboration with Oechsler AG

Adidas will continue its collaboration with Oechsler AG, the operator of both Speedfactories, in other manufacturing areas such as the production of soles for shoes using Boost technology, soles for football shoes and 4D-printed soles. Adidas will also continue to develop, improve and test manufacturing processes in Germany. Process innovations will be bundled and driven forward at the Adidas production site in Scheinfeld (the so-called adiLab).

Advanced 4D printing

“The knowledge we gained from setting up and operating the Speedfactories was made possible through constructive cooperation with Oechsler and the team there. With this, we have pioneered new manufacturing processes, including significant reduction in production time of athletic footwear. We very much regret that our collaboration in Ansbach and Atlanta has come to an end and thank all project participants for their commitment. At the same time, we are pleased to continue our partnership with Oechsler in other areas, especially in advanced 4D printing,” stated Martin Shankland, Member of the Executive Board and responsible for global operations at Adidas AG.