Adidas Favours Trainer-Making Robots Over Humans Workers for Return to German Production

By Gary Cutlack on at

Trainers and vests maker Adidas has some good news and some bad news for European workers. It's ditching the Chinese workhouse approach favoured by many of today's top brands, and bringing production back to Germany. Hooray. The bad news is it's giving the job of gluing bits of rubber together in the fashion of the day to a bunch of robots.

The sportswear giant has been showing journalists around its new Speedfactory in Ansbach, where manufacturing will begin again in the firm's home country for the first time in 20 years; with the shoes going on sale in 2017. If successful, a second factory is planned for the US, although it shouldn't end the human involvement in the process altogether, as company technology boss Gerd Manz said that "full automatisation" is not something he is reaching for.

It's probably the laces. Surely a robot will never be able to do up laces with those stupid, inflexible fingers.

The company's global ops boss Glenn Bennett said: "It’s a new era in footwear crafting -- with greater precision, unique design opportunities and high-performance. Products of tomorrow are going to look different to what we have today." [Adidas via Guardian]

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