Additive manufacturing or 3D printing enables products to be made lightweight, custom-fit, sustainable and produced on-demand. Several sports industries have discovered the many advantages of working with this innovative technology. Think of running shoes with 3D printed soles and insoles, a custom-fit batting helmet, or customized (motor) bike handlebars.
This blog will elaborate on why sports gear is a product category highly suitable for additive manufacturing through a digital workflow. Continue reading and learn more about the benefits!

 

1: Meticulously fitting sports gear based on 3D scans

One of the most important advantages of 3D printing through a digital workflow, such as the Twikit software enables, is the capability of making a product custom-fit. Based on biometric data such as a 3D scan (or manually taken measurements), the software platform adapts the product geometry to the 3D scan. It allows for an exact fit around the body part that has been 3D scanned, for example, a hand, wrist, foot, head, leg, or torso and tweaking.

twikit custom-fit insoles
Custom-fit insoles based on 3D scans and created through a digital flow that fit perfectly.

A custom-fit product meant for a specific sport increases comfort immensely and enhances performance. A helmet that is specially made for you will fit better and more comfortably than a generic helmet in a standard size. Then a player can focus more on his performance instead of on ill-fitting gear. Every tiny detail can make a difference.  

2: Enables individualized lattices and light-weight products

Additive manufacturing allows for product designers to add advanced structures such as lattices into sports gear. Using lattices has a lot of advantages for both manufacturing and product performance.  

By 3D printing certain parts in a lattice structure, less material is used resulting in a more lightweight product. Lighter sports gear is often an advantage in sports and allows the athlete to move quicker and agile.  

Lattice also allows for optimized energy absorption and feedback based on the athlete’s experience, keeping the weight and the safety of the product in mind. The dimension, structure, and mix of the unit cells determine the performance. 

Finally, lattices can also have an aesthetic effect and add a cool look to sports gear, such as a shoe’s sole.  

Individualized lattices on-demand with web-based visualization  

Laddy, Twikit’s latest cloud suite product, enables brands to create individualized lattices on-demand. The software solution’s significant architecture and features will open new doors for consumer brands looking to capture the value of on-demand digitally manufactured, personalized products with lattice parts such as sports gear.  

Discover more about Laddy here 

3: A sustainable industry, in more than one way

As mentioned, by applying 3D printing as a manufacturing method, there is less material waste. But by introducing a digital workflow that enables the on-demand production of personalized products, brands will never experience overstock. Overstock increases storage costs and reduces working capital. Lot-size-one is made possible by the Twikit software solution.  

Whenever a customer orders a personalized and/or custom-fit product, that product can be produced efficiently and less labor-intensive. The production file is automatically sent to the suitable manufacturing facility with all information required for production.  

And, instead of working with a physical warehouse, brands can introduce a digital one into their workflow. In a digital warehouse, all production files are stored and can be recalled at any place and at any time if required.  

4: Set up a unique in-store customer experience

The last advantage of additive manufacturing through a digital workflow we will present to you is the possibility of a unique in-store experience. Because the digital workflow can take you from placing the order via a web-based customizer to the manufacturing and delivery of the product, the sports product can be ordered in-store by the customers themselves.  

twikit customize handlebars in store decathlon
The unique in-store experience that Twikit software enables for Decathlon at the DX concept store.

Twikit technology enables the creation a user-friendly customizer where you can upload 3D scans or manual measurements and where the customer can personalize the product based on their aesthetic (color, size, patterns, logo, text, etc.). Because the customizer is web-based, it is easily set up and accessible via a tablet or desktop computer.  

twikit personalized handle bars
The customer can customize the color, shape, structure and add text and logos.

This means that consumers looking for customizable and/or custom-fit products could visit a sports brand store, design their own product based on their biometric data and later get the product delivered at their doorstep. It is a unique customer experience enabled by advanced customization software that is highly connected with manufacturing.  

Read more about the Decathlon unique in-store experience here 

Connect with Twikit 

…And we can name many more benefits of manufacturing sports gear using 3D printing and a digital workflow. If you want to find out more, please connect with us!