The sport and fashion giant Adidas is pushing the industry forward into modern manufacturing techniques with its new Futurecraft 4D shoes. With 5,000 pairs on the way in 2017 and a promised 100,000 more coming in 2018, this is much more than a PR stunt.
Adidas has partnered with Carbon, a start-up company creating their own 3D printers. Using a technique known as Continuous Liquid Interface Production. This process is very similar to SLA but with two major differences, curing and production time. SLA uses a laser to harden the polymer whereas CLIP uses a UV light. And CLIP has no layering effects and much reduced time due to a very clever technique.
Carbon’s use of a UV light instead of a laser allows a greater area of resin to be cured at one time, so much so that constant production can be maintained, ending layering issues and decreasing time massively. Adidas and Carbon claim that this allows the CLIP technology to be viable as an end use, mass production process.
This technology allows Adidas to custom-make shoes for customers or athletes with little to no extra cost. With current injection moulding, this would be an incredibly costly procedure limiting it to only the highest performing athletes. Adidas already offers custom colours and materials for their shoes but in the near future we may be able to input our own personal details such as weight or specific information on our gait and receive an entirely custom shoe, with a sole tuned perfectly for our comfort.
The integration of 3D printing into more and more industries is both testament to its incredible usefulness and recognition of its untapped potential. Here at Fluxaxis, we aim to unlock this potential for you to use and benefit from. Additive manufacturing is the future, providing unrivalled customisation and speed. If you would like to experience these advantages first hand, get in touch here.