Johnson Controls teams up with adidas Group and other partners to redefine the way textiles are manufactured

PLYMOUTH, MICH. (May 8, 2014) – Johnson Controls, a global multi-industrial company with core businesses in the automotive, building and battery industries, is working with leading sportswear manufacturer adidas Group and other partners to redefine the way textiles are manufactured.

The partners want to increase automation in the production of textiles. In doing so, Johnson Controls as the leading manufacturer of vehicle seats and seating components, intends to optimize seating trim cover 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, as the project is known, aims to combine the capabilities of both humans and machines. At the project’s conclusion, the prototype of a system should be in place in which humans and robots work together to produce textile products.

While adidas Group seeks to automate the production of sporting goods, Johnson Controls’ goal is to automate the production of vehicle seat covers. The company intends to optimize the cutting and sewing process as well as the handling of textiles. This new process will involve textiles being cut in a certain way, aligned and then joined to make trim covers.

Johnson Controls is working on SPEEDFACTORY with the leading manufacturer of sports clothing and accessories, adidas, the mechanical engineering company, KSL Keilmann Sondermaschinenbau, the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University, and fortiss, an institute associated with the Technical University of Munich with the mandate to facilitate research and technology transfer in software-intensive systems and services. The research project is being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

About Johnson Controls:

 Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 170,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2014, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #12 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience:

Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With 240 locations worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability, we supply approximately 50 million cars per year.

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Mary Kay Dodero