French textile producer Chamatex has teamed up with Salomon, Babolat and Millet as well as an investment company on the construction of a new footwear manufacturing facility called Advanced Shoe Factory 4.0 (ASF 4.0) in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. ASF 4.0 was founded by Chamatex with the goal of designing, building and operating a smart factory (known as a 4.0 industrial tool) and relocating the production of top-of-the-range footwear from Asia Ardoix, where Chamatex is based and only 200 kilometers from Salomon’s headquarters.
Some €10 million were raised to finance the construction of this plant from numerous stakeholders including Chamatex, which has become the controlling shareholder with the support of three financial investors. Salomon, Babolat and Millet have participated in the financing round along with Cuir Invest, an investment company focused on the leather and footwear sectors.
According to Chamatex, the new project will speed up production and deliveries, with logistics organized in a short circuit that will allow brands to benefit from optimal reactivity on the European market. It will also increase their capacity to test new products in smaller runs with European consumers. In addition, the shorter supply chain will lower the brands’ carbon footprint.
The factory is expected to be operational in mid-2021. It will aim to produce 500,000 pairs of shoes per year with robotics operated by a staff of nearly 50 people, working in particular for Salomon, Babolat and Millet, which are all based in France. It will start with a new model developed by Salomon.
ASF 4.0 will draw on Siemens’ expertise in Industry 4.0, Salomon’s know-how in the design of sports shoes and the experience gained by Chamatex with Matryx, a patented fabric for sports shoes that it had initially developed for Babolat in collaboration with the Zebra Group.
Started in 1980, Chamatex specializes in the development and manufacture of technical textiles for the sports, leathergoods and other sectors. Employing 120 people, it had a turnover of €25 million in 2019.