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Adidas and Carbon to mass-produce 3D-printed shoe

Adidas and Carbon to mass-produce 3D-printed shoeGerman sportswear giant Adidas has teamed up with Californian 3D printer manufacturer Carbon to create a new 3D printed shoe. The companies will use Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technique to mass-produce the shoes.

The latest move from Adidas sees it embracing new technology for its footwear. This comes in the form of a 3D printing collaboration with Carbon, best known for its continuous liquid interface production (CLIP) 3D printing technology, that will see the two companies develop a new shoe called the Futurecraft 4D. Using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis production technique, Adidas and Carbon are aiming to mass-produce more than 100,000 pairs of the special shoe by the end of 2018.

“With Digital Light Synthesis, we venture beyond limitations of the past, unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing,” said Adidas Global Brands board member Eric Liedtke.

“One driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes. By charting a new course for our industry, we can unleash our creativity—transforming not just what we make, but how we make it,” he added.

Adidas says that a great deal of thought has gone into the Futurecraft 4D. For example, “17 years of running data” have contributed to its midsole design, while 50 different lattices structures were tried and tested before the best was chosen. The shoe also marks an “official departure” from more traditional forms of 3D printing. Instead, Carbon and Adidas say they are “bringing additive manufacturing in the sport industry into a new dimension” with the Digital Light Synthesis 3D printing process.

Adidas hopes to sell 5,000 pairs of its "Futurecraft 4D" this year, and 100,000 next year as Carbon cuts the time it takes to print a sole from the current hour and a half to as low as 20 minutes per sole.

The shoes will sell at an unspecified premium price but Adidas plans to lower the cost as the technology develops.
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