Athletic brands are lining up to put their technological capabilities to the test in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Adidas, along with longtime digital manufacturing partner Carbon, has designed a new 3D-printed face shield to support healthcare workers on the front lines—using the same technology and materials found in its 4D midsoles.
The face shields can be reused and sanitized and will be donated to first responders and under-served communities in the United States, Adidas noted.
“The ambition behind using the highly elastic, tear-resistant material called elastomeric polyurethane, typically used in Adidas 4D midsoles, is to create a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be sanitized and reused, with the hopes of eliminating waste during a time of scarcity,” Adidas said in a statement, suggesting each hospital should make its own determination regarding reuse protocols.
Elastomeric polyurethane should provide a more comfortable alternative in terms of face protection, capable of standing up to long hours without hindering the crucial work healthcare professionals continue to perform, Adidas added.
Adidas has already more than doubled production on the face shields to upwards of 50,000 a week, from a starting point of just 18,000, and credited its 3D-printing manufacturing technology for the quick turnaround.
Carbon will also share print files with its entire global network, Adidas said, allowing the project to scale even further and giving anyone with a Carbon printer and appropriate materials the ability to manufacture their own face shields.
Adidas will respond to any organizations in need of PPE face shields at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
To further support virus-fighting efforts, Adidas has also donated to the World Health Organization (WHO), the China Youth Development Fund, the Red Cross and a selection of hospitals in South Korea.
Adidas’ PPE offering comes on the heels of Nike unveiling its own face shield design, leveraging its supply chain to get protective gear to health-care workers.