The Economist's new article describes Adidas's new high-tech factory in Germany that uses robots and 3D printing. The factory allows Adidas to take shoes from design to production quicker.
"The Speedfactory’s main strength is to shorten the supply chain, and so the time to shops, to less than a week, perhaps even to a day, once the trainer design is complete. The design process itself is increasingly done digitally. The trainers are not just styled on a computer screen but can also be tested by the computer for things like fit and performance. To enhance the process, the Speedfactory will also have a digital twin: a virtual computer model in which production of the new trainers can be simulated. Once all is well, the digital product will then move to the physical production system."
By using 3D printing and other automated processes, the factory is flexible in what it builds.
"Driven by software, the robots, knitting machines and 3D printers take their instructions directly from the computer-design program, so they can switch from making one thing to another quickly, without having to stop production for what can amount to several days in order to retool conventional machines and instruct manual workers."
The picture for this blog post came from a scene in this video.