Reebok Announces New Rhode Island Manufacturing Facility

By Alex Girda

Providence, R.I.—Fitness company Reebok recently introduced a new manufacturing facility in Burrilville, R.I., where it plans to overhaul the process of building athletic footwear. Known as the Liquid Factory, the new facility will use advanced robotics and innovative software in order to substantially increase the output, greatly improving productivity in the process.

Set to become operational at the start of 2017, the new facility’s keystone is an industrial robot that draws an outsole using liquid plastic ribbons. Once the material hardens it encapsulates the rest of the shoe, providing stability and durability. According to Reebok’s Head of Future Bill McInnis, the process moves Reebok away from the traditional shoe-molding system.

Parent company Adidas is broadening the plan to develop new facilities in the U.S. in order to cut shipping costs and bring its products closer to the consumers. The new facility will use a chemical produced by Lincoln, R.I.-based AF Group.

Reebok has rolled out 300 pairs of its Liquid Speed shoe, the flagship product for the new manufacturing system. The shoe was developed alongside BASF and RAMPF Group in Wixom, Mich. Assembly on the promotional run was carried out at the company’s Massachusetts headquarters.