Boston-based sportswear company New Balance has launched a new 3D printing platform enabled by Formlabs, to produce custom, lightweight shoe components.
Named TripleCell, this platform was used to revamp the New Balance 990 Sport and FuelCell Echo shoes. Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product, Officer of Formlabs, said “3D printing is changing how companies approach manufacturing, with this announcement New Balance is pioneering localized manufacturing.”
“By eliminating the dependence on molds and direct printing for both prototyping and production, their team shifts from months to hours in the development and production cycles. We’re moving towards a world where design cycles are closing in on the whim of the consumer and it’s exciting to be on the frontlines of this with New Balance.”
Rebound Resin and the TripleCell platform
In 2017, New Balance and Massachusetts-based 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs, announced an exclusive partnership to develop high-performance materials, hardware as well as a manufacturing process for athletic footwear. This has resulted in the creation of Rebound Resin which is designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity of injection molded thermoplastic.
Last month, rumblings of this new material surrounded the Digital Factory Conference and the Formlabs User Summit events in Boston as Katherine Petrecca, General Manager at New Balance Athletics and her team previewed various 3D printed structures made from the previously unnamed resin.
Upon the release of the TripleCell platform Petrecca stated,“This new, cutting edge, digitally manufactured technology is now scaling exclusively within New Balance factories in the U.S. further establishing us as a leader in 3D printing and domestic manufacturing. Formlabs has been an integral partner to bring this to life. We’re really going to be able to disrupt the industry not only in performance, but also in athlete customization and speed to market.”
“TripleCell will deliver the industry’s pinnacle expression of data to design with seamless transitions between variable properties underfoot.”
Redesigning with 3D printing
The redesign of the New Balance 990 Sport shoe, said to be a classic within the company’s collection, aimed to debut the capabilities of the TripleCell platform. Thus, the heel of the shoe was 3D printed to maintain the cushioning experience found in the classic style while being 10% lighter than the New Balance 990v5.
Moreover, TripleCell was launched following the release of the New Balance FuelCell platform for forefoot running shoes. The Fuel Echo shoe also integrates 3D printing for optimised cushioning. The production of the 990 as well as the FuelCell range takes place at the New Balance Lawrence factory in Boston.
The 990 Sport is priced at $185 while the FuelCell Echo is priced at $175. Both are available here and through select global retailers.
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Featured image shows the New Balance team with Formlabs 3D printers. Photo via Formlabs.