Nike, Adidas Embrace New 3D Printing Technology To Boost Production Speed
Nike and adidas are "embracing 3D printing to speed up the shoemaking process, using the technology to make multiple prototype versions at a previously impossible speed," according to Barney Jopson of the FINANCIAL TIMES. 3D printers "lay down particles of plastic, metal or even wood in thin layers that build up into solid objects." The footwear makers are "using them to print and modify prototype plastic soles with studs, or cleats, for football and running shoes." Nike Innovation Leader Shane Kohatsu said that 3D printing "had accelerated development" of its Vapor Laser Talon boot for football. adidas said that 3D printing "had reduced the time it needed to evaluate a new prototype by four to six weeks to one or two days." Before the advent of 3D printing, adidas prototypes were "handmade by 12 technicians." With the new technology, "no more than two people are required to produce them." The shoe companies have "not put a price tag on 3D-printed shoes as none are yet being sold to consumers" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/10). CNBC’s Brian Sullivan noted that in F1, teams are now “bringing 3D printers with them and at the track, if something breaks, they will make the part right there” (“Squawk On The Street,” CNBC, 6/10).