Nike has been granted a patent for a process to print parts of its shoes, which it has said will simplify its manufacturing processes.
Digital Trends and others report that the US Patent and Trademark Office granted the patent on October 13, after it was originally filed in September 2012. It covers “Automated strobel printing”. A strobel is the fabric that joins to the underside of the shoe’s upper.
“A machine moves shoe strobels to a camera or scanner where images of the strobels are captured,” reads the patent’s abstract.
“Using the images, a computing device instructs a printer how to mark guidelines on the strobels that signify one or more strobel sewing lines for different shoes models and shoe sizes.”
Benefits, according to Nike, include reducing the amount of assembly needed.
The news follows last week’s announcement from Adidas that it would partner with Materialise for a limited offer of customised 3D printed midsoles next year through participating stores.