EOS North America and Additive Minds have announced the launch of their Digital Foam programme to support the 3D printing of applications like protective headwear and performance footwear.
The Digital Foam hub is coordinated by EOS and pulls together CAD software, highly flexible polymer materials, 3D printing technology, part qualification and the applied engineering team at Additive Minds. It has been designed to simplify the process of additive manufacturing foam parts and commercialise ideas at faster speeds.
As more flexible materials like TPU and PEBA have become available to users of 3D printing technology, applications like football helmets, bike seats, running shoes and customised orthotics are more viable. That latter application is what footwear company Aetrex is targeting through the use of Digital Foam. Leveraging the programme’s services and combining that with its proprietary Albert scanning system, Aetrex is analysing customers’ feet, identifying pressure points and, subsequently, additively manufacturing custom orthotics.
The use of 3D printing for components like these allows designers to fine-tune each voxel to enhance the comfort, fit and performance. Yet, EOS North America and Additive Minds perceive this process to be highly complex, and thus have offered a helping hand.
“The level of engineering required to produce, say, a safer football helmet is massive, but the benefits are equally massive for end users,” commented Dr Greg Hayes, Senior Vice President of Applied Engineering at EOS North America. “The Digital Foam programme was designed to make those huge improvements much easier and less time-consuming for organisations.
“What Aetrex is doing is a perfect example of how Digital Foam can make 3D printed foam applications mainstream in the digital manufacturing era. We have created a sophisticated but easy-to-use solution that connects dozens of dots in the value chain, delivering better products to the market faster than ever.”
Software company nTopology has been named as a partner of Digital Foam, contributing its nTop software platform to help users simplify engineering design, analysis and build preparation.
EOS and its partner organisations will be harnessing the Digital Foam programme to submit an entry to the NFL Helmet Challenge, a competition looking to yield football helmets that outperform today’s models. The winner is to be announced in May 2021.