Adidas announces robot-filled “Speedfactory” in US

Adidas has announced it will bring its highly-automated, custom-oriented “Speedfactory” concept from Germany to the United States, opening a factory near Atlanta next year.

Global Atlanta and others report that the site will be located north of the city, at Cherokee County, and sit on 74,000 square feet. The company said in a statement that it would emphasise customisation and bring sales closer to the point of consumption.

“This allows us to make product for the consumer, with the consumer, where the consumer lives in real time, unleashing unparalleled creativity and endless opportunities for customization in America,” said executive Eric Liedtke in a statement.

Operated in both the Atlanta and Ansbach pilot plant by Oechsler Motion, the Speedfactory concept was described as an adjunct to, rather than a replacement of low-cost mass manufacturing in Asian countries.

Reuters notes that Adidas had shut all except one of ten of its German factories by 1993. The shoe company creates roughly 300 million pairs of shoes a year, and said it had no plans to close any of the low-cost sites.

The new factory would open in the second half of 2017, produce 50,000 pairs of shoes that year, and would hopefully produce around 500,000 pairs annually “in the mid-term”. It would employ 160.

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