The Sportswear maker, Adidas experiment working with high technology to create functional shoes closer to buyers is ending. It declared Monday that it was closing two niche but flagship factories in Germany’s Ansbach and in the United State city of Atlanta by April 2020 at the latest, that use robots and 4D printing to make sneakers, shifting the production to more cost-effective Asian factories as an alternative.
Just three years ago, the Bavarian group praised its fast factory concept, which uses highly automated processes to make shoes faster, more customized, and closer to retail outlets, proof the manufacturing industry could return to countries where wages are high. But from the end of this year, the speed factory shoes will join Adidas’ other models and be produced by existing suppliers in Asia, the group said.
Adidas executive board member Martin Shankland said, Citing the “progress” made by suppliers, this decision would make footwear production “more flexible and more economical while expanding the range of products available”.
Both speed factories produce only one million of the approximately 400 million sports shoes made by the group manufactures each year. The future of the 160 workers at the Ansbach plant is still unclear. The plant is operated by the German technology company Oechsler, which collaborated with Adidas on the project.
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