Adidas’s high-tech factory brings production back to Germany (Economist)

Behind closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape. That it will use robots and novel production techniques such as additive manufacturing (known as 3D printing) is not surprising for Germany, which has maintained its manufacturing base through innovative engineering. What is unique about this factory is that it will not be making cars, aircraft or electronics but trainers and other sports shoes—an $80B-a-year industry that has been off-shored largely to China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The Speedfactory, as this plant is called, belongs to Adidas, a giant German sports-goods firm. Production is due to begin in mid-2017, slowly at first and then ramping up to 500,000 pairs of trainers a year. Adidas is constructing a second Speedfactory near Atlanta for the American market.

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