Duesseldorf, Germany – Adidas’ first SpeedFactory in Ansbach, Germany, will be joined in 2017 by a second such facility in the US, according to Chris Holmes, director, materials engineering, future team at Adidas AG.
Adidas to add US SpeedFactory in Atlanta
High-volume production, said Holmes, is scheduled to begin in the near future both at the German facility and the new US unit, to be located in Atlanta. SpeedFactory units, he added, will be established in other global region in subsequent years.
Covering more than 74,000 square feet, the Atlanta factory will be fully functional in the second half of 2017, producing running footwear. Adidas is targeting production of 50,000 pairs in 2017, ramping up to 500,000 pairs of shoes.
The US plant, which will create around 160 jobs, complements the first SpeedFactory in Germany. Both facilities are being operated by Adidas’ strategic partner Oechsler.
Holmes was speaking at a VDMA Industry 4.0 platform at K2016, where he introduced the first output from the German plant – comprising 500 pairs of running shoes equipped with sensors that can generate performance data for wearers.
The shoe, made in Germany, uses Adidas’ ‘Boost’ shoe cushioning, which is based on an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer developed in collaboration with BASF.
The sensor data is based on material performance properties such as elasticity and modulus, translated into terms more readily understood by consumers. The product has gone on retail at special events in Germany, selling at 250 euros a pair.
Under its "Creating the New" business plan launched in 2015, Adidas aims to develop a series of “independent and scalable” manufacturing cells in operation by 2020.
It also has links to advanced manufacturing initiates led by the German government.
“Today we don’t have production (in those countries) because it is too expensive. In the future (production) can be much more flexible.”
The aim, said the CEO, is to increase the company’s ability to respond to fast-changing consumer trends achieving, for example, concept-to-shelf targets of 45 days for its Adidas and Reebok footwear brands.
The SpeedFactory employs highly integrated automation and intelligent robotics to provide customised products in very short lead times.
The Adidas project is being carried out in collaboration with industrial partners, including suppliers of materials, moulding machinery and automation systems.