Are athletes evolving to superhumans or lies the secret within their equipment? Records are being broken around the world. From personal bests to Olympic performances, all are improving at a very fast pace and Twikit has an explanation. Additive manufacturing has found its way towards the sports industry.
More and more sports equipment manufacturers are turning away from traditional production techniques. These techniques turn out to be more expensive, more time consuming and less efficient than the alternatives. This article explains the use of digital production techniques and their role in creating lightweight and high-performance sports equipment.
Additive manufacturing for lightweight and high-performance sports equipment
The primary advantage is the increase in efficiency. 3D-printing and other additive manufacturing techniques have proven the optimization of the development processes. Not only does it improve the time spent on development, the output can be optimized much faster resulting in reduced R&D costs.
A second big advantage is the ability to print several parts as one. With traditional manufacturing techniques, different parts have to be assembled to finalize the product. When additive manufacturing is used this is not necessary, the final product can be printed in one piece. This advantage results in lower weight, fewer components, and materials needed and therefore a reduced cost.
The third asset of digital production is the possibility to manufacture products with the same or even improved technical and structural capacities as traditional methods while being lighter. And this may be one of the most important characteristics for sports equipment cause is has direct results in performances.
Digitally produced sports equipment
Twikit helps companies to digitalize their production and customization processes. Because digitally produced sports equipment has all of the above advantages, customization adds to the list of these benefits. Customized and made-to-fit equipment enhances not only the results, but also increases the wearer’s comfort.
A good example of the combination of individualization and additive manufacturing is the protective sports helmet Twikit developed together with nTopology and EOS. The result is a product that is adapted to the measurements of the player’s head and depending on its level, beginner or professional, the inner structure of the helmet is adapted. This ensures the optimal energy absorption and protection level while keeping the helmet lightweight. After the adaptation to both measurements and level of experience of the player, the helmet can be aesthetically adapted, such as color choice, added text, and more. A digital production file is generated from each unique order and send to a 3D printer to be digitally manufactured.
The result is a lightweight helmet that gives, in this case, a baseball player, the protection her or she needs while offering optimal comfort. The weight of a headpiece, such as a helmet, has an immediate effect on the player’s achievements on the field. This makes made-to-fit helmets the ideal solution for sportsmen and –women who need protection and outstanding results.