Hockey Helmets Get the Personalized Treatment
Bauer Hockey has teamed up with EOS to leverage 3D printing and its patented Digital Foam material to enable mass customization.
March 9, 2023
Bauer Hockey, a leader in hockey equipment, is the latest player skating into the market for personalized consumer products, striking a partnership with EOS to incorporate additive manufacturing (AM) into its processes.
Given that no two heads are alike, off-the-shelf helmets aren’t always a fit, regardless if the buyer is a professional hockey player or an enthusiast. To meet the need, Bauer launched the MyBauer mass customization initiative covering player sticks and skates and now adding custom helmet inserts as the latest option in its budding portfolio of personalized gear.
The partnership with EOS combines CAD, materials, part qualification, and 3D printing. Specifically, Bauer was drawn in by EOS’ Digital Foam, a patented approach to printing polymers. EOS Digital Foam is a metamaterial with characteristics similar to foam, with the added impact of being able to precisely adjust each voxel during the printing process to ensure superior characteristics and customization. EOS stresses the safety, comfort, and performance advantages of its Digital Foam for sports, medical, and other high-performance applications. Parts 3D printed with the material can contain multiple unique zones, each with mechanical properties that can be tuned separately.
With Digital Foam, Bauer can create highly custom helmet inserts specific to an individual while also enabling the production of custom products at scale. “While Digital Foam is still relatively new, it keeps us out front of product innovation while also bypassing other engineering and manufacturing limitations,” said Mathieu Dejardins, senior brand manager of protective equipment at Bauer Hockey, in a press release.
As part of the MyBauer program, a player’s head is scanned and a digital file is created. The file is output with Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) AM technology and Digital Foam materials, creating a complex, varying lattice-designed insert for a Bauer REAKT helmet. The resulting helmet is both personalized for improved comfort, but also lighter weight coming in a 580 grams with enhanced breathability. Once 3D printed, the helmet inserts are finished with a color treatment and readied for final assembly in Bauer’s Quebec, Canada, facilities.
EOS Digital Foam is being tapped for an array of applications, including bike helmets, high-performance shoes, and orthopedic aids. “The sports equipment industry is really starting to think about how to leverage 3D printing and the role Digital Foam can play in all manner of protective gear and products designed for comfort,” said Jon Walker, a Digital Foam expert at EOS North America.
Learn more about EOS Digital Foam by watching this video.