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3D Systems Scores a Second Big Win in the 3D-Printed Shoe Space – Motley Fool

by • March 26, 2016 • No Comments

Athletic apparel giant Under Armour(NYSE:UA) utilized 3D Systems'(NYSE:DDD)nominateive laser-sintering innovation to create its UA Architech, the world’s initially performance training shoe with a 3D-printed midsole that is definitely on the market to the general consumer market. This marks Triple D’s 2nd such victory in the burgeoning 3D-printed athletic-shoe space. In November, New Balance revealed an exclusive partnership with 3D Systems to manufacture the world’s initially running shoe with a 3D-printed midsole that can be commercially on the market.
First, a appear at these two shoes, and and so I’ll discuss why 3D Systems’ SLS tech is emerging as a winner in this space.
Under Armour Architech
Image source: Under Armour.
Under Armour’s UA Architech
Earlier this month, Under Armour added the UA Architech, that sports a 3D-printed lattice-structure midsole, and revealed the shoe may be on the market in a limited version of 96 pairs on March 18. Folks grabbed up the $300 shoes, that were sold out online preceding 7 a.m. EST that day, according to my check. The Baltiadditional-based company plans to release several other 3D-printed shoe versions this year, and to commence customized 3D-printed shoes in the next.
Because the Architech is a multipurpose trainer, an athlete can use it to go of an exercise where stability is significant, such as masslifting, to one where flexibility and a relatively light mass are key, such as running sprints. Under Armour’s createment system involved studying different types of geometric shapes and structures in nature and architecture — hence the shoe’s name — to create a midsole heel create that may be most suited for such a shoe.
Autodesk’s(NASDAQ:ADSK)Within software was utilized to generatively create the lattice midsole, that is not easy to manufacture via conventional making techniques. Generative create involves a desktop algorithm generating structures based on criteria like durability, flexibility, and mass.
Under Armour apparently utilized 3D Systems’ SLS innovation for this initiative. I figured this was the case, for the reason New Balance is via it to create 3D-printed running shoes. There’s no mention anywhere of the innovation utilized to create the trainers, but I spotted 3D Systems’ printing device in a Gizmodo video of this story.
Under Armour is most likely via the printing device on its own, for the reason New Balance’s press release in November indicated that it was exclusivelycollaborating with 3D Systems in its 3D-printed running-shoe efforts. “Exclusive,” yet, may only apply to 3D printing running shoes, pretty than athletic shoes in general.
New Balance
Image source: New Balance.
New Balance’s 3D-printed running shoes to commence in April
New Balance revealed last November that it was working in an exclusive collaboration with 3D Systems to 3D-print an elastomeric material into a honeycomb-like structure to form midsoles for running shoes. The team utilized 3D Systems’ newly createed elastomeric powder, DuraForm Flex TPU, that was 3D-printed via SLS innovation. Elastomers are polymers that are light and flexible, yet sturdy.
The midsole was createed based on underfoot prescertain data of where the runner’s foot strikes the surface, with additional cushioning in areas of higher-than-average prescertain. This project involved collaboration one of experts in running and biomechanics, plastics engineering, material createment, and generative create.
New Balance’s limited-version — no word on the precise number — 3D-printed running shoe can commence initially in Boston in April to coincide with the Boston Marathon, and and so in nominate New Balance retail locations around the world. The company reportedly plans to roll out customized versions in 2017, yet it hasn’t provided details.
3D Systems’ S Pro SLS Center. Image source: 3D Systems.
Why 3D Systems’ SLS innovation is emerging a winner in this space
Selective laser sintering allows for for the production of a few geometries that are not easy to create by other 3D-printing technologies, such as stereolithography (SLA) and futilized deposition versioning (FDM), let alone by conventional making methods. This is for the reason the part being created is surrounded by unsintered powder at all times, so it will not require special assist structures to fabricate overhanging creates. Additionally, for the reason the SLS machine’s chamber is always filled with powder material, multiple parts can be positioned to fit inside it, making the system additional cost-effective.
3D Systems had the patent lock on SLS innovation until several key patents expired in 2014. So it is approximately a certain thing that any company that is definitely been via SLS innovation in its 3D-printing efforts for a while is via a 3D Systems’ version.
CarbonImage source: Carbon3D.
It’s appearing like 3D-printed athletic shoes can be a big business in the relatively near next. 3D Systems requires to speed up its SLS innovation if it wants to be a primary player in mass-created customized midsoles.
Investors should store their eyes on start-up Carbon3D, that plans to commence a super-speedy 3D printing device in 2016 that reportedly excels at making elastomers. Carbon3D revealed last spring that an unnamed “primary athletic apparel” company was testing a 3D printing device based on its Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) innovation. I believe it is most likely that Nike (my 2nd guess is Under Armour) is the athletic-apparel company that is definitely testing this printing device for the production of midsoles for athletic shoes.
Autodesk’s generative create innovation is in addition worth a watch. If 3D printing for production purposes beyond tiny runs takes off — and there’s each reason to believe it can — Autodesk Within software may be a considerable winner.

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