Johnson Controls teams up with adidas on textile innovation

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Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. has partnered with adidas Group to improve textile manufacturing.

The global multi-industrial company and adidas, a leading sportswear manufacturer, have named the project SpeedFactory. It combines mechanical and human capabilities to produce textiles like coastal and marine recycled plastic textiles.

The project aims to make the cutting, sewing and handling processes more efficient. Textiles will be cut in a certain way, aligned and then joined to make trim covers.

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Johnson Controls will use the technology to manufacture vehicle seat covers and adidas will use it to automate sporting goods production.

“Process innovations are just as important to Johnson Controls as product innovations,” said Andreas Eppinger, group vice president technology management for Johnson Controls Automotive Seating. “The majority of sewing required for vehicle seat covers is largely done by hand. Although increasing automation in this area is very complex, we are convinced that it is feasible.”

SpeedFactory is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The companies are also working with mechanical engineering firm KSL Keilmann Sondermaschinenbau, the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University and the Technical University of Munich’s fortiss institute.

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