adidas Unveils Industry’s first application Of Digital Light Synthesis with Futurecraft 4D

adidas Unveils Industry’s first application Of Digital Light Synthesis with Futurecraft 4D

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 a fruition of adidas Futurecraft – 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 moulding. With the new technology, adidas now operates on a completely different manufacturing scale and sport performance quality, officially departing from 3D printing, bringing additive manufacturing in the sports industry into a new dimension.

– adidas strategically partnered up with Carbon to create the first performance footwear crafted with light and oxygen –

– Digital Light Synthesis enables adidas to bring the most personalised performance products from imagination into physical reality –

– adidas to create high-performance footwear with scale and speed through Digital Light Synthesis, with more than 100,000 pairs by end of 2018

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 a fruition of adidas Futurecraft – 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 moulding. With the new technology, adidas now operates on a completely different manufacturing scale and sport performance quality, officially departing from 3D printing, bringing additive manufacturing in the sports industry into a new dimension.

Carbon-Lattice-1

Digital Light Synthesis is a breakthrough process pioneered by Carbon that uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric 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 analysed 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. 5,000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D will be available at retail in fall/winter 2017 with further scaling in the coming seasons.

Digital Light Synthesis was created by Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based tech company working to revolutionise 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 (i.e. 3D printing), such as: low production speed and scale, poor surface quality, and colour 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.Carbon-Lattice-2

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 revolutionised 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.

Dr Joseph DeSimone, Carbon Co-Founder and CEO, said: “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.”

adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry with the core brands adidas and Reebok. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach/Germany, the Group employs more than 60000 people across the globe and generated sales of EUR 19 billion in 2016.

In close collaboration with the Carbon team, adidas is leveraging Digital Light Synthesis, enabled by Carbon’s CLIP technology.

adidas continues to challenge the industry with its relentless focus on innovation to improve the performance of athletic apparel. But their latest idea—creating shoes with variable properties across the midsole to improve shoe performance for different sports—presented a difficult hurdle. Midsoles cannot be injection or compression moulded in one piece with properties that vary across the part. Although they can be assembled from multiple parts through a labour-intensive process, this introduces multiple potential points of failure. Confronted with this challenge, the adidas team shifted its focus to the possibility of 3D printing midsoles to unlock the design freedom needed to enhance shoe performance.

3D printing has previously been used mostly to prototype products in development before they were produced with traditional manufacturing techniques. 3D printers are generally not designed for manufacturing scale. Prints are often painfully slow, require wasteful part supports that are ultimately thrown in the trash, and use materials that are vastly inferior to those used for production, resulting in weak and brittle parts. For adidas, the 3D printing industry lacked the production-grade elastomers needed for a demanding athletic footwear application. As a result, while adidas could 3D print prototypes of their midsoles, the final midsole design was still constrained by the ultimate production process, i.e. injection and compression moulding. To overcome this constraint and 3D print final midsoles, adidas turned to Carbon’s digital light synthesis technology, its factory-ready 3D printing method, and its high-performance materials to design and directly produce the next generation of athletic footwear. A trailblazing partnership had been forged.

“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.” Eric Liedtke, adidas Group Executive Board Member Responsible For Global Brands.

Carbon-adidas-Shoe-1Carbon’s rapid product development process enabled adidas to iterate over 50 different lattices for the midsole before landing on the current design. Traditionally, product development has followed four steps: design, prototyping, tooling, and production. This process is so slow that many product development programs can only afford three to five redesign cycles before finalizing the design, constraining the product team’s innovation. The Carbon-adidas collaboration made ten times as many iterations possible! Further, each iteration was produced with the same process and material as the ultimate product. These were not just prototypes for assessing a design’s visual appeal: We could actually test midsole performance in the design stage. In other words, Carbon’s technology makes prototyping obsolete. Gone are the days when it was necessary to prototype a product using a technology that does not allow for scale-up.

Motivated to enable the best production solution possible for adidas, Carbon established an incubator factory at its headquarters to develop and validate a print method and materials for Futurecraft 4D. In the incubator factory, Carbon developed a full print and post processing solution and validated it even before the equipment landed at adidas’s factory. It allowed the teams to closely collaborate throughout the

shoe iteration process to ensure that the ultimate design was the best combination of design, material, and print process.

Having developed production ready printers and materials, Carbon was finally obliterating the barriers to using 3D printing for manufacturing real products at scale. Leveraging our programmable liquid resin platform that uses light to set the shape and heat to set the mechanical properties, the Carbon team developed a proprietary print strategy for midsoles that enables printing with essentially zero support material. This not only saves on raw material costs, but also dramatically reduces manual post-processing steps of traditional additive manufacturing.

Moving quickly and gathering feedback with every iteration, the Carbon team developed a revolutionary elastic material for the Futurecraft 4D midsole. adidas needed to 3D print lattices in a stiff but resilient elastomer to create a high performance midsole with excellent energy return. Carbon’s EPU 40 was the only 3D printable material that came close to the requirements for this application. When launching the collaboration, our teams realized that in order to make the shoe of the future, we needed to take what was already an incredible material and push the boundaries even further. Working closely with adidas to understand the use cases, the Carbon team iterated over 150 different material formulations to achieve the desired mechanical properties. The team also fine-tuned the colour of the material to match the signature linen-green colour of the launch shoe chosen by adidas’s amazing design team.

Carbon enables the design and immediate production of products, eliminating the conventional prototyping and tooling steps of a traditional product development cycle. This new production process has already allowed adidas to put a new shoe design in front of select athletes to better understand customers’ needs around Futurecraft 4D and, ultimately, to craft a better performing shoe. The process enables adidas to print previously impossible designs without labor intensive and complex assemblies. It has also opened up the ability to create optimal designs relying on software to simulate the production and use of athletic footwear. An industry leader with exceptional sport-science expertise, adidas will be able to use this production process to craft custom shoes with an ultimate performance uniquely tuned for each customer.

www.adidas-Group.com

www.carbon3d.com


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