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A new era in manufacturing


With the help of a Silicon Valley startup Adidas is revolutionising the manufacturing process to produce the next generation of sports shoe at scale.

It is partnering with California-based Carbon, to develop trainers using cutting edge printing technology. Harnessing Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis tech to print soles for the Futurecraft 4D range; a game-changing departure from traditional prototyping or moulding methods.

Adidas is also tapping into 17 years of running data to develop the shoes, which are designed to kickstart a new era in sports performance.

“With Digital Light Synthesis, we venture beyond limitations of the past, unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing. One driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes. By charting a new course for our industry, we can unleash our creativity – transforming not just what we make, but how we make it,” explained Eric Liedtke, Adidas Executive Board Member responsible for global brands.

Carbon uses CLIP technology – Continuous Liquid Interface Production – a photochemical process which combines “engineering­-grade materials with exceptional resolution and surface finish” in a system which combines light and oxygen to make products rapidly from a pool of resin.

Dr Joseph DeSimone, Carbon Co-Founder and CEO, said: “Despite the influence of technology to improve almost every other aspect of our lives, for eons the manufacturing process has followed the same four steps that make up the product development cycle – design, prototype, tool, produce. Carbon has changed that; we’ve broken the cycle and are making it possible to go directly from design to production. We’re enabling engineers and designers to create previously impossible designs, and businesses to evolve their offerings, and Futurecraft 4D is evidence of that.”

Adidas plans to have 100,000 trainers with soles made using CLIP technology on the market by the end of next year.

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