Stratasys Global sport shoe giant speeds up more than top sprinters
When Puma began to consider ways to reduce its design cycles and push prototypes to its far-flung operations around the world, it realised additive manufacturing offered a number of favourable options for increasing the pace.
Puma is one of the world’s leading sport-lifestyle companies, and it designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories. The company, which was founded in 1948, distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 9,500 people worldwide and has headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany; Boston, USA; London, UK; and Hong Kong.
Another type of race, one not held on the track
Puma’s long-term mission is said to become the world’s most desirable and sustainable sport-lifestyle company. Naturally, this implies a focus on style and creativity, which has implications for the design process of footwear. This involves extensive planning and multiple iterations on several continents.
The tick of the clock drives the company forward
Puma’s top challenge was time: the company needed to compress its design cycles and squeeze in more design iterations within limited time frames. As part of the review process, the design team needs to evaluate the footwear and verify multiple parameters prior to tooling.
A second challenge was communication. Multiple design and manufacturing teams in Germany, the US and Vietnam had to jointly review and discuss footwear designs. Without being able to hold the same physical model, this kind of collaboration was very difficult.
To reduce design time, the company switched from outsourcing its prototypes to using an in-house Objet Connex 500 3D Printer. Andy Chung, a Puma tooling and 3D engineer, said: “We realised that with the in-house Objet 3D printer, we could perform more design iterations in less time. As a company, Puma already was successfully using an Objet 3D printer at another site, so we knew what to expect.”