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3D Printing Mass Production Set for Adidas' Futurecraft 4D
Posted on April 11 2017
An Old Dog, With New Tricks
Adidas makes history with the release of their newest shoe design “FutureCraft 4D.” Partnering with Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based company with a 3D printing expertise, to deliver the first shoe with a 3D printed sole set for mass production. This is a part of Adidas larger effort to stay on the forefront of the ever-evolving fashion industry. Other examples regarding this effort include the ability for the customer to completely customize one’s shoe purchase online.
Rivals including Nike, Under Armor and New Balance have had limited similar ventures, most of their efforts have been geared more towards utilizing 3D printing for prototyping and expensive one of high profile creations. The reason is largely contributed to the fact the current plastic injection molding process used by the footwear industry today far outweighs 3D printing in terms of efficiency, yet the modeling system currently in place requires a mold to be used around 10,000 times before it pays for itself. In the current 3D printing process layers are slowly printed one by one. Hewlett Packard has developed a process in while working with Nike that cost of 3D printing in half and speeds up the printing process by 1000%.
The Future of Adidas' Futurecraft 4D
Adidas has taken a realistic approach to building 3D printing into a major segment of their business model. Their short term goal for the “Futurecraft 4D” is to sell 5000 pairs, that goal will increase in the following year to 100,000. This large spike in production goals is largely due to the partnership with Carbon, which promises to expedite printing to as little as a 20-minute process. Their long-term goals would have potential buyers come into a retail location, be fitted for a custom shoe, and have the product be printed on site.
Pop Up Shop Practice
Adidas has already started to test the waters in certain markets regarding their “customized” buying experience. Last month the company experimented with a Pop-Up shop that allowed customers to design a custom shoe and have it knitted at the retail location.