Adidas is dumping its robot-based Speedfactories in Germany and the US. Both plants, which are operated in association with Oechsler (German plastics specialist), will be shut down “by April next year at the latest,” the firm claimed to the media in an interview. The sportswear behemoth stressed that some of its Speedfactory procedures might be adopted in Asia by two suppliers where maker is conventionally affordable, later in 2019. Employing these techs, the duo will create running sneakers and models (for the first time) in “other product sections.”
Speedfactories were intended to bring shoes production back to markets in Western region and reduce reliance of Adidas on Asian providers, which have frequently been condemned for unethical working practices and conditions. Adidas also expected that the Speedfactories might, as their name tells, pace manufacturing and lower both the time and cost related with shipping. The mostly-automated production created a small series of shoes comprising the Futurecraft Made For Germany (M.F.G) and a series of Adidas Made For (AM4) sneakers that were inspired by 6 of the biggest cities in the world and, later, specific artists comprising JaQuel Knight and DJ Kittens.
Adidas still has technical aspirations. This week, the firm claimed it might further aim its resources on “updating its other providers” and, with assistance from Oechsler, carry on exploring “4D tech,” a 3D-printed midsole that has been employed on shoes such as the Alphaedge 4D and Futurecraft 4D. “Whilst we know the reasons of Adidas for discontinuing Speedfactory manufacturing at Oechsler, we are unhappy for this move,” chief executive of Oechsler, Dr. Claudius M. Kozlik, claimed. “Simultaneously, we look forward to carry on our closing and trusting cooperation with Adidas in the 4D sole printing area.”
Currently, at least, shoes production is secure from the apparently inevitable automation-robot-plant-revolution.