Speed matters, and to iconic German sportswear manufacturer Adidas, that means turning to robots to revolutionize their production—the Speedfactory—a large-scale robot facility set first in Germany aimed at changing the industry. The company has just announced that the Speedfactory will be ready to go commercial in 2017.
It was December last year when Adidas had set up the pilot facility in Ansbach with the goal of producing products faster than ever. At 4,600 m2 (49,500 ft2), the company says that it will house cutting edge, automated technology that will decentralize manufacturing and will be more flexible towards the needs of the consumers, bringing the product, not just faster, but also closer to the market.
Currently, the Speedfactory is under construction, but as part of their announcement late last year, Adidas will be selling a test batch of about 500 pairs of running footwear produced by the facility this year.
We may soon be saying goodbye to that dreaded “out-of-stock” notification for our next Adidas sneakers.
This is the first time in several years that the German company will be returning production to their home country. Adidas however is not looking to stop there—the company is eyeing setting up a Speedfactory in the United States. Currently, their products are manufactured in Asian factories where things are largely done manually.
It cannot be denied that the Speedfactory might threaten job security as it is going to be a part of an increasing number of automated industries that will focus on cheap and efficient technology as opposed to slower manual labor. The company’s response to this is that it does not intend to immediately replace their workers, saying that “full automization” isn’t the goal.