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adidas embraces 3D printed midsole production with Carbon technology for Futurecraft 4D footwear

Company targets 3D printing for mass production of footwear

Through adidas’s obsession with helping athletes make a difference, today, the brand unveils Futurecraft 4D, the world’s first high-performance footwear featuring midsoles crafted with light and oxygen using Digital Light Synthesis, a technology pioneered by Carbon. Futurecraft 4D is the latest development of the adidas Futurecraft program – the brand’s journey to define the future of craftsmanship through exploring new technology, design, and collaboration in order to provide the best for each athlete.

Futurecraft 4D’s midsole is born out of 17 years of running data and brought to functional reality through a pioneering digital footwear component creation process that eliminated the necessity of traditional prototyping or molding. With the new technology, adidas now operates on a completely different manufacturing scale and sports performance quality, officially departing from 3D printing, bringing additive manufacturing in the sports industry into a new dimension.

“With Digital Light Synthesis, we venture beyond limitations of the past, unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing. 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,” said Eric Liedtke, adidas Group Executive Board Member Responsible For Global Brands.

Futurecraft

Digital Light Synthesis is the 3D printing process pioneered by Carbon that uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymer products. Futurecraft 4D is adidas’s first application of the Digital Light Synthesis and represents the brand’s step into athlete-data driven design and manufacturing.

With an ambition to create the ultimate running shoe for all, adidas analyzed its library of running data to shape functional zones into a midsole design crafted through Digital Light Synthesis. Unlike any traditional manufacturing technology, Digital Light Synthesis allows adidas to precisely address the needs of each athlete in regards to movement, cushioning, stability, and comfort with one single component.

Carbon’s unique programmable resin platform offers unparalleled performance with respect to material durability and elastomeric responsiveness. Three hundred pairs of Futurecraft 4D will be released in April 2017 for friends and family, followed by more than 5000 pairs for retail in Fall/Winter 2017, and further scaling in the coming seasons.

“Despite the influence of technology to improve almost every other aspect of our lives, for eons, the manufacturing process has followed the same four steps that make up the product development cycle – design, prototype, tool, produce. Carbon has changed that; we’ve broken the cycle and are making it possible to go directly from design to production. We’re enabling engineers and designers to create previously impossible designs, and businesses to evolve their offerings, and FutureCraft 4D is evidence of that. Our partnership with adidas will serve as an ongoing testament to how the digital revolution has reached the global manufacturing sector, changing the way physical goods are designed, engineered, made, and delivered.”  Dr. Joseph DeSimone, Carbon Co-Founder and CEO.

Futurecraft

Digital Light Synthesis was created by Silicon Valley-based Carbon to revolutionize product creation through hardware, software, and molecular science. This new take on manufacturing enables adidas designers, sports scientists and engineers to bring even the most intricate designs of their imagination into physical reality.

More importantly, it overcomes shortcomings of conventional additive manufacturing methods – such as low production speed and scale, poor surface quality, and color and material restrictions. Without these limitations posed by traditional production methods, adidas can now bring the best and most innovative products to consumers faster than ever.

Through Futurecraft, adidas started exploring additive manufacturing as a tool to change the way products are created in 2014, and launched Futurecraft 3D Runner, the brand’s first 3D printed performance footwear a year later. Today, adidas has revolutionized additive manufacturing with Carbon, and is committed to scaling and mass-producing Digital Light Synthesised footwear.

The brand will continue to work with Carbon in developing new material and machinery to bring about future innovations. Digital Light Synthesis will become an integral part of Speedfactory, providing consumers with bespoke performance products tailored to their individual physiological data, when and where they desire.

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Victor Anusci

Victor does not really exist. He is a pseudonym for several writers in the 3D Printing Media Network team. As a pseudonym, Victor has also had a fascinating made-up life story, living as a digital (and virtual) nomad to cover the global AM industry. He has always worked extra-hard whenever he was needed to create unique content. However, lately, as our editorial team has grown, he is mostly taking care of publishing press releases.

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