Siemens (ETR:SIE) is planning to collaborate with adidas on the realization of the Speedfactory concept for mass-produced 3D printed sneakers. To optomize the workflow of sneakers with 3D printed elements, Siemens plans to introduce its Digital Enterprise products into the concept, to create a digital-twin of the entire product chain.

Carbon CLIP 3D printing of a sneaker FUTURECRAFT 4D sneaker midsole. Clip via adidas on YouTube

Fast, transparent, individualized production

The Digital Enterprise Suite from Siemens incorporates a cloud-based IoT operating system into the production process called MindSphere. Through a collection of big-data from each part of a product’s lifecycle, Mindsphere connects design, logistics, suppliers, and operations for full control and understanding of the process.

The suite shows how Siemens are preparing for industry 4.0.

Diagram representing Siemens' Digital Enterprise Suite

Diagram representing Siemens’ Digital Enterprise Suite

Bringing 3D printed production to the mass market

As previously reported on 3D Printing Industry, the Speedfactory is gaining traction with Carbon’s  CLIP 3D printing technology forming a central component. By incorporating the SpeedCell calibration of CLIP 3D printers and a Smart Part Washer, adidas hope to bring production of a 3D printed sneaker midsole down from 90 minutes to 20.

Futurecraft 4D sneaker midsole close up. Image via adidas.

Futurecraft 4D sneaker midsole close up. Image via adidas.

The digitization of this process and how it fits within the entire chain of production as planned by Siemens, will further add to the pace of the process to reach the mass market goal.

Klaus Helmrich, Member of the Management Board of Siemens AG, comments,

The SPEEDFACTORIES run by adidas are a perfect illustration of where the production of the future is heading. The social trend towards greater customization coupled with new technologies capable of actually fulfilling these expectations will permanently change many production processes.

In a 3D Printing Industry interview with Carbon founder and CEO, Joe DeSimone reiterates this point in relation of design for additive manufacturing. He adds, “customers who design on the means of production can really rapidly introduce new products more quickly.”

A customer-centric approach

In a statement on the proposed collaboration Gerd Manz, Vice President Technology Innovation at adidas, asserts,

Everything we do is focused on our consumers. They demand the highest level of individuality and quality. With SPEEDFACTORY we can completely rethink conventional processes and live up to these high expectations. By digitalizing the value chain, we will be able to implement new technological innovations more quickly, make more efficient and transparent use of the resources available and so respond more flexibly to the individual needs of our consumers – to give them what they want when they want it.

As seen in other concepts, such as Next Generation Additive Manufacturing, series production is certainly one of the key themes for progress and the ongoing industrialisation in 3D printing today, as the consumer market demands customized products at an affordable price.

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Featured image shows the adidas FUTURECRAFT 4D sneaker with a 3D printed midsole.

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