Sport Infinity

Unique sporting goods that can be recycled to infinity

In the spor­ting goods indus­try, up to 30% of the mate­ri­al used in the pro­duc­tion pro­cess can go to was­te, and pro­ducts nor­mal­ly end up in the bin soo­ner or later. At the same time, the world is batt­ling an ever-shrinking sup­ply of resour­ces. As part of the EU pro­ject “Sport Infi­ni­ty”, an inter­na­tio­nal con­sor­ti­um led by adi­das is working on a new genera­ti­on of sports­we­ar that can be reu­sed an infi­ni­te num­ber of times. The items – such as foot­ball boots – are bro­ken down into tiny parts weig­hing just a few grams, which are then com­bi­ned with lef­tover mate­ri­al from other indus­tries to form new pro­ducts. In future, foot­ball boots could the­re­fo­re con­tain any type of mate­ri­al – from car­bon fibres that are used in air­craft con­struc­tion to the fibres of foot­ball boots that shot goals during the last world cup.

Sport Infinity’s goal is to deve­lop inno­va­ti­ve com­po­si­te mate­ri­als based part­ly on was­te so that adap­ta­ble spor­ting goods can be pro­du­ced from syn­the­tic mate­ri­als in an auto­ma­ted pro­cess. The pro­ject uses a design-focused approach, whe­re the mate­ri­al pro­vi­des the desi­gner with maxi­mum free­dom and a gre­at deal of poten­ti­al for inno­va­ti­on. The approach used enab­les the pro­ject to gene­ra­te various types of pro­ducts, in which lots of dif­fe­rent mate­ri­als can be joi­ned tog­e­ther without nee­ding to add glue and/or other adhe­si­ves. The inter­na­tio­nal con­sor­ti­um com­bi­nes the exper­ti­se throughout the ent­i­re value crea­ti­on chain – from design and mate­ri­al deve­lo­p­ment, pro­duc­tion and mar­ke­ting, through to sales and recy­cling – across several dif­fe­rent disciplines.

The journey to success: Comprehensive advice – Hand in hand

The Sport lnfi­ni­ty pro­ject inclu­des two com­pa­nies who recei­ve sup­port from Bay­ern Inno­va­tiv in a ran­ge of are­as. The foun­da­ti­on stone for suc­cess­ful col­la­bo­ra­ti­on was laid by the New Mate­ri­als Clus­ter mana­ged by Bay­ern Inno­va­tiv. The clus­ter brought the two com­pa­nies tog­e­ther at an infor­ma­ti­on event on “EU fun­ding for rese­arch and inno­va­ti­on pro­jects” hos­ted by Bay­FOR. A sui­ta­ble call was iden­ti­fied and a first pro­ject iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on mee­ting was orga­nis­ed with Bay­ern Inno­va­tiv and Bay­FOR. Bay­FOR then pro­vi­ded addi­tio­nal advice and sup­port during the app­li­ca­ti­on pro­cess, inclu­ding acti­ve sup­port in designing and imple­men­ting the app­li­ca­ti­on as well as help through the first and second pha­ses. The pro­ject star­ted in June 2015. In addi­ti­on to the coor­di­na­tor adi­das (which is based in Her­zo­gen­au­rach, Bava­ria), the con­sor­ti­um inclu­des nine other indus­try experts: BASF SE, KISKA GmbH, Fill Gesell­schaft m.b.H., Uni­ver­si­ty of Leeds, Cent­re for Tech­ni­cal Tex­ti­les (CTT), Asso­cia­ti­on CETI (Cent­re Euro­péen des Tex­ti­les lnno­vants), Hyper­cliq E.E. and Sports­Me­thod Ltd. The Bava­ri­an part­ners are the Friedrich-Alexander Uni­ver­si­ty Erlangen-Nürnberg and OECHSLER AG.

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