Printing the Next Footwear Joseph DeSimone (Carbon) and Eric Liedtke (Adidas) | Disrupt SF (Day 3)
6:04PM Sep 7, 2018
So please welcome to the stage the carbon CEO, Joseph desimone and Eric Liedtke from adidas. He is the CMO and your moderator, Matthew panzarino.
When we first started with the idea of future craft, it was to sort of guide us set us on a path.
It's a mindset. And it's a philosophy to try things.
We're always bringing in new influences, new ideas, new collaborations. 3d printing, for example, was one of these new technologies that really had unlimited possibilities. You know, the initial problem was Okay, can we actually make a running shoe out of 3d printed material that really works and works well.
So when we started thinking about doing 3d printing, we wanted to use liquids because liquids give you the most flexibility and material design I think of light as a chisel light triggers the solidification of the liquid but oxygen inhibits it that allows us to have the object grow
We're going to scale it with the best industrial partner in the business
We're able to deliver 10s of thousands and moving to hundreds of thousands and end of the 10s of millions. You know, that's clear in front of us.
We have this amazing opportunity to innovate the printing process, the liquid rising and
growing in that context can give you a new design thoughts you've never had before, a new performance capabilities that wouldn't be possible by traditional manufacturing.
This three dimensional mesh structure, it's a lattice, it's a matrix, it's a web of individual elements. Each one of those little elements is tuned specifically for a purpose.
We can go in within every single cell and engineer that exact cell to do exactly what the consumer needs it to do, just for them.
That's fascinating. That's going to change how we create products and certainly how consumers experience products. And I think that's how we see something like future craft 4d playing into the life of athlete.
All right, excellent. All right, I'm gonna contractually require sizzle videos whenever I go anywhere from now on. That was pretty good. Okay Excellent. So what we've got here is a combination of a new type of printing process and then of course, an application in shoes. So Joe, let's start off if you wouldn't mind, just describe for us the process, the printing process that carbon uses and why it's different from traditional 3d printing.
So we invented a process it's 100 to 1000 times faster. We use light and oxygen to grow parts. We think of it as a as a software controlled chemical reaction. About a third of our team is software. We have a digital twin of our process the chemistry and physics all coming together. And what you saw there was basically this integration of hardware, software and chemistry all coming together.
To take a digital model printed very fast, but do it out of the materials that had the properties to be final parts. 3d printing up to this most time has been with prototype. In fact, it was called rapid prototyping. With the speed and a breakthrough in materials. This now ushers in a new era of 3d printing at scale, what we call 3d manufacturing, which is you put that in context, you know, the manufacturing world's a $12 trillion marketplace, 1.1 trillion of that is polymer products and 30% of that is injection molded, 330 billion injection molded. Yeah
but that's all made out of the analog process of you know, cutting a cavity and metal heating up a plastic melting it filling the cavity cooling it down and pulling the parts out
And it's expensive and it's time consuming
And it slows down product teams you know that you the product development cycle is normally a design it you're prototype it, you tool it, you produce it. It can take 18 months, right. And whether you're designing autonomous vehicles are running shoes that slows down.
We cut out the two middle steps, we disintermediate the process its design on the means of production and it collapses product development cycles allows companies arguably, the economy to go much faster, because you can do things at at the speed of design.
Right, and so the midsole that I have in my shoes here, I'm just stunting at this point. But I have in my shoes here, you have some midsoles there, those are production ready, and it was that the attractive part that you saw when the partnership with carbon came up?
Yeah, I think we we saw it more as a there's a solution to an answer to an end. So the thing we're always trying to solve is what does the athlete need? What does the consumer need? What is the end use case that we can use? And what we see here is all the things Joe just talked about, which is amazing, but the applications are limitless when we talk about
How we help athletes in their game you know because you can have you can customize this down to the thousands of a millimeter you can look at individual product down to lot size one so i can i can outfit a team of any any sport in individual products if we wanted to based upon them by lot size when you mean Person to Person person to person so the way you were the shoe the way Joe whereas a shoe they look the same but they can be customized based upon your body weight based upon your sport based upon your your your your strikes you know as far as your foot strike your your heel strike so it's unbelievable on top of that let's be honest 80% of what were we were just for looking good in like you guys look great in those shoes by the way thanks yeah so then then it comes down to it allows us to play with looks that we quite honestly couldn't have imagined before like the lattice structure versus the shoe I have on which is more traditional construction is night and day from what we can what we can do and what we can do to offer to the consumers are
my brand new love it
and so this is this is a typical midsole like in those in the polymer material, and the lattice here is all just extruded right out of the material. Correct?
with light. Yeah, I think a light is our chisel. Yeah, that can craft these complex geometries.
And then the design work is computational. Right? So you say, hey, these are the properties I want this midsole to have, and you go about making sure that those properties exist. And then extruded
Yeah, so we basically have built these cloud based software tools, finite element analysis tools that allow a take a primitive CAD, and then we have built a library of lattices in a cloud that have different unit cells, different strength length, different strut thickness, different materials. And the software can autonomously put these lattices together. And the user can define the primitive CAD and then they asked what mechanical properties they need in different regions in the software can populate that and then we can send it to a predictability module in the cloud run a simulation of our process
to see how fast it will go see if any stresses develop. And it can go through an iterative loop. And then when we printed it prints out exactly the way people want.
Got it. And so let's talk about some of the other benefits, like the benefits for Adidas go beyond just the design of the shoe and the fact that it can be produced to like one to one spec, but also in materials usage, right. use less materials.
Yeah, ultimately, we're still, you know, ramping ramping the innovation, I believe, so as we look at it, absolutely. It will be faster it'll be more limited materials, it will be you know,
ideally Will you know, the vision here is to be able to print on demand so you can take it off of warehouse you don't have to hold inventory you don't have to you can Hey, we run out of we run out of size nines in New York Fifth Avenue and we print them in Atlanta and ship them in there and in a 24 hour period you know, so it's it's on demand in right now. We make most of our product out of Asia and we put it on a boat or a plane and we ship it over across the across the ocean to deliver to Fifth Avenue and it's a slow as, as Joe said, take six sometimes longer months to produce.
in Atlanta factories that one of your prototype speed
we have a speed factor in Atlanta that we've just opened up that we're, we're prototyping these things, we want to be closer to it. So instead of having a, you know, some sort of micro distribution centers in Jersey, we can have a micro factory in Jersey, or you can, you can print on demand, which is opens up all sorts of opportunities, both for the athlete because we can same time take that to the Olympics. So Tokyo games 2020, we can have a micro factory there that's customizing for track and field athletes based upon, you know, how they're, how the surfaces are, how the weather is, or how the different conditions are. So the use cases are limitless, virtually limitless. This disrupts everything
and then talk a little bit about sustainability. So in addition to obviously being able to subtract material you don't need be the lattices and customize you've also got a missile that it looks a little different from that. So what's different about that
so what's cool about it, you know, bringing all the mathematics together all the engineering, the material scientists, the software, you can now start to think about, well, how do I make this shoe lighter and still perform properly? Right? And, you know, mechanical engineers have been taunting all of us about lattices for decades. But you couldn't make these things.
Now, with, with our technology, you can either make it, you can make it out of materials, got the properties and make it quickly. So economically. So we talked about digital sustainability, the issues can be substantially D materialized, you know, we think about the hierarchy of sustainability going into and removing, you know, making materials, lightweight, but high strength and performing. So, breakthrough materials, a stiffer material, the same energy recovery we can take, you know, hundred grams out of these shoes, right, so then you can D materialize it
the ultimate sustainability is not even use the material and for
us less to begin with Yeah, then in fact that you know, the next resin the one I'm holding here, this is derived 43% derived from corn bio base feedstocks. Renewable feedstocks. That's another example of sustainability going in those directions.
The resin after that will be fully recyclable. With 3d luck. 3d printing is going to be big art. We are so committed as a purpose led organization to environmental stewardship, we're inventing residence that can be totally recyclable the resin after this after its use in the marketplace, we can convert those materials back to liquids and and print them again. So that kind of recyclability is enabled by breakthroughs in material science breakthroughs in in manufacturing, and then you start thinking about, Okay, so we've D materialize it.
We got renewable feedstocks. We got truly recyclable resins and then you start thinking about the supply chain, the ability of in, especially in the automotive industry, and all the other sectors we work in. There's so many warehouses, storing inventory, 10s of billions of dollars of inventory around the world in air conditioned buildings for decades, just holding product whether it's the automotive industry
Other consumer industries, the medical industry, and having on demand a warehouse in the cloud, local for local production can completely disrupt supply chain. Thomas Friedman said that one of his latest books at 2% of the GDP is in delivery trucks
at any given time. And so they'd be able to disrupt that effect about your global impact. Yeah.
So the design process you talked about a little bit early, early to kind of unschooled a bit that just find it fascinating. So as you mentioned, the typical design processes were like, Hey, we start with the schedule, start with the model design the shoes, say, Hey, this is right for this market. And then you got to go into the process of saying, Okay, well, that's nice, but how can we actually make this then you have to order molds, get the molds made, test the molds, figure out what's wrong with them, remake the molds, and then inject mold and then get prototypes.
And that whole cycle takes months. You know, as you mentioned, there's sometimes a year 18 months, right. So what's the collapse of the design process? What do you think that'll lead to I was when you're talking about Somebody being able to design on the means of production and say, I want this, this kind of material, I want this kind of properties and then be able to see those results on a production ready shoe right away. What does that open up for Adidas
but I think design by nature's is seen as a right brain activity for the most part. And I think what we what we start to introduce now is left brain data driven design. And I think the the two can marry nicely we're not we're not trying to say one's better than the other but they inform each other so what we have here we've got perfect use case in front of you with with Joe's team who these guys are very much data driven. And and we put our designers in the room with them. magic happens because it's how do we use the data driven and in this in this use case, we have we took 10 years plus maybe 20 years of of science that we had on foot strikes and running and how runners run and where the impact zones are and what we need to design into it from a data standpoint and then let the creative takeover but once we already had that and what you can do now is you can design most of this through
Through AI, and then the and then just let the designers with the aesthetic Come on the outside. So what you see on the profiles issue, but the insight can all be done fundamentally based upon the, the, the the instructions we give it whether it be on an individual basis or whether it be like the best running shoe ever made, give us all the data on all the runners you've ever had, which we have from laboratory results. So it really informs that and then as you as you look at downstream,
if you go right to prototype, if you don't have to go CAD drawing, you don't have to then send that over to a factory office that they can make a prototype then send it back to us, we typically go to three rounds of product reviews to tweak designs and make sure they're performing well we can do that right on a on a single in a single physical location. But also in a in a course of a day you can you can get something back in and start testing immediately. So it's again it I can't put a number on it, but it revolutionizes how things are made.
Right? And it seems I mean you know, obviously this is an ideal way just I'm a little biased love shoes. But it seems like an ideal way to start. It's a it's a huge mass market opportunity to say like, Hey, we're in a, you know, innovating with carbon. We're creating this new design, but it certainly seems like it has implications for all of manufacturing beyond, you know, just the just mid soles of shoes to start off with, what are some other areas that you've been working in that you found some really great success in terms of differentiating, say, Hey, we're going to exclude this part and give it to you versus what you've been doing. What's How you been getting your part so far.
So the two areas that we thought were killer apps for us while I was running shoes and an amazing partnership with Adidas, the others dental and you know, half our printers going out this year are going into the dental marketplace. And so it's a subscription model in the hardware, we sell resins we got a half dozen different resins and a dental marketplace. They range from making dental models for making you know of crown and bridge fits you know, for going into the doctor's office but also getting the thermal forming aligners, think about Invisalign, and
a lot of people coming into that. space, but we now also have the world's first 3d printed, FDA approved dentures, denture bases and denture teeth printed parts assembled. And what's cool about that is we're making those at scale and or five to 10 times cheaper than the hundred year old milling process that people been using forever to make dentures. You know, there's 60 million Americans that cannot afford dentures, they're not reimbursed by insurance
and having you know, the ability to dignity to smile he properly speak properly, you know, oral health is tied to coronary disease, you know, it's it's hugely gratifying for us to be able to bring cost effective super solutions to people for healthcare. So that's just the beginning we've got many other projects coming along with you know, big partnership with j&j products in a surgical orthopedic space. All sorts of examples in surgical drill guides and the like automotive is a huge marketing big chunk of the injection molding market.
So you think about how much products me product design, it goes into making all the brackets and in the lights and cars. For example, you take autonomous vehicles. When you go from level one autonomy in a car to level four autonomy increasingly autonomous, you need an eight x increase in the number of sensors. You go from two miles a wire in a car to 12 miles a wire, you need brackets, you need sensors, you need electrical connectors, all those things are injection molding,
or injection molded. And all those things take months to get expensive, and it slows down product teams. We are powering just about every autonomous vehicle company out there, every EV company out there and we're dramatically collapsing the product development cycle, speeding their ability to innovate. So it's really it's a digital tool. It's taking analog injection molding, which is slow we've built in all these tight all our programs are slow down because of injection molding.
We now allow people to design on the means of production. It's digital, it's taking injection molding to a digital process and allows product teams to go much, much faster.
And that cyclical nature of that design process, you know, that you're producing, or you're designing, you're producing, you're seeing it. And I noticed is that QR code on this midsole, so like working with Adidas, like how does how's that feedback loop help, because and previously, you know, you injection mold, you know, the mold, you sort of know, you know, oh, hey, this came from that mold. But you don't know what the weather was like in you know, in China on that day when they when they injected it. So how does it help to have that data feedback loop in terms of producing, designing, testing and that sort of thing
did you learn to hear that from manufacturing I can talk about from an
Yeah so the idea of you know, when you when you when you don't have a QR code on apart you don't know you know, it's just one of 10s of thousands of parts and you don't know what they're really their story is for example, so think about a
Recalling your car Winners Winners apart breaking on a car, right? They have to recall all, you know, 30,000 of those vehicles or 80,000, because they don't know the origin of the of where that came from. But in a data centric world, and in a digital world where everything is marked, you can look at the data, maybe you had a bad lot of resin. And now you don't have to recall 1200 cars, right? So the impact of digital in digital manufacturing really changes the whole business model
the ability to authenticate parts now tying this together so that you know, that's an authentic BMW replacement part on your car. And how does one ensure that the properties and performance and meet specifications medical devices is probably the you know, one of the biggest ones and and, you know, the FDA is going to want to know that that part may digitally was made to spec and any ability of having, you know, printers that are tied to the cloud, right, they're spewing data With serialized parts traceable parts, links all that data with apart
so they know what polymer was used, what printer was used to print it, what day what factory what everything shop floor, it's
everything's locked down.
And so from our standpoint we're printing in America we're printing in, in Europe and we're printing in Asia. And we just need to have more of those data and say, what were the what were the benefits were the limitations of each of the prints at what time and we can we can then troubleshoot and as you scale innovation, troubleshooting name of the game, you've got to stay agile and be able to adjust so I can only concur with what Joe is saying. He's He's the he's the the guru on this topic. But it mean we're just using the benefits of it because it's now again,
you can look at what factory what they were and what went wrong in an isolated incident for what sport you can imply back to the consumer and how they use it.
I just add Eric's being kind here. These are these partnerships. You know, this is for us to it's a subscription model on a hardware it's not a transactional sale. So we have partnerships
Our team gets to work with his team and it's a mate. They got amazing material scientists, they got amazing designers. This calling all creators brand. They don't suffer from the not invented here attitude that opens up a collaboration space for us that it's it's really been amazing to allow us to work together.
And that's been the key me a lot of people say, Well why did you get lucky enough to work with carbon is like we found each other we found each other because we both have a disruption mindset where we want to we want to we want to create the new and and look at how we can disrupt the status quo
it just drilling something specific because I'm genuinely curious about how this scales
I know you're a sneaker heads, so yeah, well, for those of you out there,
yeah, exactly. Unfortunately, all too much one, but, um, in terms of one to one so like you're talking about like the obviously the capabilities seem tailor made to be able to say, Hey, you know, your foot works this way your body works, why your strike works this way. So, how does the average consumer How do you get that scale that to the average consumer, how do you say this is your data set, not just a generic data set we own but is your data set? How do you collect that? How do you
and so let's be honest, we make, I don't know, close to 500 million pairs of shoes a year. So I'm not sure this will ever go to 500 million. We can, we can scale it as much as we can. From an athlete standpoint, it's very important. So we have something called athlete services. So athletes are always looking for something that's going to fit them. Everybody has different feet. Everybody has different ways, they walk, they perform, they run, they play basketball, whatever the sport may be, and I think you always have to drill into how you make the foot become something that's, that's, that's,
that's a performance vehicle for the athlete, right? And how do you make the shoe do what it needs to do and nothing more. So the more minimal, the more the more supportive, whatever we need to do for those athletes. That's what we've and those have been customized with teams of cobblers literally make an issue for these athletes. We don't need to do that anymore. This technology so that's going to be a real game changer. But that's the tip of the pyramid as you come down from there. I think you get more into how does this affect
This culture of sport and people and the look of sport and how things go into our technical vehicle, and how things become more more consumed by consumers everyday Like us on the street, I think that gets interesting. Are they interested in, you know, individualized, customized product? No, probably not. But the potential is there if we want to what might be more interesting is the third thing, which is the sustainability that Joe talked about a second ago, I think we can make now with this innovation. With these resins, we can make a an upper and a bottom out of the same material. So what that allows us then is you can take one of your 500 pairs of shoes and you can take it to
me like that
you can take it to it das or someplace else and have it ground down and remade into a new pair of shoes just for you. And that gets really interesting because traditional constructions don't allow for that because you've got rubber you've got you've got a VA, you've got different materials. You've got, you know, different compounds here you can you can actually sync up the compounds from the upper end bot and make it one TP based product and
allows you to remove glue right allows you to every sexual
you make it as a unit. But down you can either have a have a product that gets ground into a new product, you can an RF ID that product that then you would have the ability to tell a story of what the previous generations of that product where it came from cooking your fifth generation shoe, right be a shoe that Elon Musk used to own and you would have that story tagged into it through you know, however you do so it just opens up all sorts of opportunities that we haven't begun to, you know, explore or or discuss yet but the use cases are clear just on the just on the benefit of manufacturing.
Cool we're gonna kill myself so indulge me in a couple of sneaker head questions. So one what's the scalability of this look like in terms of near term because the shoes the 40 shows that have been announced so far I'm very jealous of the white pair but the 40 shoes that are announced so far very hard to get you know huge huge
more limited more limited than Kanye
more if we get more limited than Katya right
So how how Sooners Allison and we're going to look at scale where people can find these on the shelves or right now let's say we've launched units of hundreds in the market will get into thousands by the end of the year and within two years we'll be talking millions
okay and then my second question is Connie related Phoenician mentioned this week he said that he was talking to you name dropped you on a radio station about possibly designing Adidas entire basketball unit Do you want to break some news
I will let Kanye speak for Kanye but um but I think listen we it's the same cultural reason why we went in with Joe and carbon to tie kind of disrupt the the the methodology of how you manufacturers the same thing we're doing with Kanye let's just let's challenge convention and if Kanye has got some ideas I'll be the first one to listen because I think the guy's a creative genius and I think he's got a lot to offer and how he creates mean look what he did with music this year
five albums in five weeks right it's pretty impressive what he can do from a from an output standpoint and he's challenging us to think differently and to do things differently. And he, by the way, wants to get his hands on some carbon printers ASAP.
Yeah, I bet I would love to see some users with 40 souls. I'm all in. So Excellent. Thank you both very much. Appreciate taking the time
and thank you for watching.