The need for speed: Adidas and Siemens to build future digital factories

4 May 20172.24k Views

Adidas Stan Smith classic shoes. Image: 2p2play/Shutterstock

Adidas’ and Siemens’ digital factory heralds a new era for the sports industry by merging the real and virtual worlds.

In a defining move for digital transformation, Adidas and Siemens are to collaborate in the digital production of sporting goods.

As part of a joint R&D programme, both Siemens and Adidas will be working to drive forward the digitisation of the Adidas SpeedFactory.

‘By digitalising the value chain, we will be able to implement new technological innovations more quickly’

The SpeedFactory is a future digital factory that is all about fast, transparent and individualised production.

According to Gerd Manz, vice-president of technology innovation at Adidas, merging the virtual and real worlds will shorten the time to market and improve quality.

“Everything we do is focused on our consumers,” Manz said.

“They demand the highest level of individuality and quality. With SpeedFactory, we can completely rethink conventional processes and live up to these high expectations.

“By digitalising the value chain, we will be able to implement new technological innovations more quickly, make more efficient and transparent use of the resources available, and so respond more flexibly to the individual needs of our consumers – to give them what they want when they want it.”

Running into the digital future of manufacturing

SpeedFactory enables the creation of products that are more closely in touch with the consumer and unique to their fit and needs.

To make individual sporting goods, both companies will need to have flexible production and rapid integration of new technologies.

Siemens, which specialises in digital factory automation, will create a ‘digital twin’ of the SpeedFactory to allow the entire process to be simulated, tested and optimised up front.

“The SpeedFactories run by Adidas are a perfect illustration of where the production of the future is heading,” said Klaus Helmrich, member of the management board of Siemens AG.

“The social trend towards greater customisation, coupled with new technologies capable of actually fulfilling these expectations, will permanently change many production processes,” Helmrich said.

Adidas Stan Smith classic shoes. Image: 2p2play/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of for 17 years.