3D printer manufacturer Carbon and sports goods manufacturer CCM Hockey have 3D printed the world’s first NHL-certified hockey helmet liner.
Produced using Carbon’s proprietary Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) resin process, the Super Tacks X with NEST (Next Evolution Sense Technology) features a digitally printed lattice structure on the inner lining. It is intended to deliver better breathability, comfort, and protection, and can be customized to fit the athlete’s head using precise 3D scans.
Ellen Kullman, CEO of Carbon, states: “At Carbon, we are laser focused on enabling customers to bring innovative products to market that push industries forward. We’re excited to partner with CCM Hockey, a leading manufacturer in hockey equipment for over a century, to produce a revolutionary hockey helmet that will change the game.”
Superior energy dissipation
The lining of the Super Tacks X is designed using Carbon’s Design Engine software, which is capable of automatically generating optimized lattice geometries based on desired performance criteria and weight as input. Its primary function is to efficiently absorb and dissipate impact energy during a game, which it does through the use of internal damping struts.
There are over 130,000 individual struts on the inside of the lining, each covering a different point on the helmet to provide all-round protection. The Design Engine can adjust the thickness of each strut to increase or decrease the overall stiffness of the lattice, enabling the helmet to absorb and disperse impact energy from both linear and rotational forces.
Jeff Dalzell, Vice-President of Product Creation at CCM Hockey, adds: “Super Tacks X with NEST Tech is a revolutionary helmet liner technology, bringing unmatched breathability, superior fit, improved comfort, and elite level protection for our athletes. We’re thrilled to be working collaboratively with Carbon to bring never-before-seen innovation to the hockey industry with this new helmet.”
While CCM Hockey plans to make the helmet available to all NHL players and consumers in time for the 2021 season, it has already been used by three professional players in the 2020 season. Seth Jones, of the Columbus Blue Jackets, wore the gear against Tampa Bay in the first round playoffs, setting the record for most minutes played in a single game – Jones was on the ice for 65 minutes and 6 seconds.
Additive manufacturing and sports goods
The novelty of 3D printing has resulted in the technology’s rise in the sports goods industry in recent years. AREVO, a specialist in carbon-fiber 3D printing, recently worked with new California-based start-up Superstrata to 3D print the fully-unified carbon composite frames on Superstrata’s recently launched e-bikes. By producing the frame in a single piece using AREVO’s continuous carbon fiber 3D printing technology, Superstrata managed to produce an “extremely impact-resistant” composite body.
Elsewhere, multinational footwear manufacturer New Balance has previously used 3D printing to produce parts for its FuelCell Echo Triple sneaker. The shoe retails at $175, and features a forefoot (part under the ball of the feet) 3D printed using Formlabs’ resin technology.
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Featured image shows the Super Tacks X helmet. Photo via CCM Hockey.