HANOVER, Germany (Reuters) - German sporting goods company Adidas and engineering giant Siemens are teaming up to improve the production of custom-made sportswear such as trainers and speed up the process from design to finished goods.
Under the terms of the partnership announced on Monday, Siemens said it will use its know-how in factory automation and simulation to enable the entire Adidas production process to be simulated, tested and improved upon.
"The manufacture of individual sporting goods calls for flexibility in production and rapid integration of new technologies," Siemens said in a statement.
Munich-based Siemens is accelerating growth in its digital expertise, buying a string of software companies in the hope of leading a movement towards smart factories in which machines can flag their own repair needs and collect masses of production data to improve processes without human intervention.
Siemens said it would create a digital twin, or virtual copy, of the Adidas "Speedfactory", which it said would help shorten the time to market, bring greater flexibility and provide improved manufacturing quality and efficiency.
Adidas's so-called speed factories are helping it replace cheap labour in Asia with highly automated manufacturing back in its home markets. It has one in German and is building another in the United States.
Reporting by Georgina Prodhan and Edward Taylor; Editing by Alexander Smith