EOS, Bauer Hockey Partner for Additive Manufacturing

Collaboration to focus on Bauer's customized equipment program.

Collaboration to focus on Bauer's customized equipment program.

Bauer hockey helmet with 3D printed digital foam. Image courtesy of Bauer Hockey and EOS.

Ice hockey helmets have been progressing for more than half a century, and now 3D printing technologies are changing product development and the consumer experience. Bauer Hockey, a producer of hockey equipment, and industrial 3D printing industry leader, EOS, have collaborated to incorporate additive manufacturing (AM) into Bauer’s MyBauer custom equipment program.

“Whether elite athletes or pond hockey players, no two heads are alike,” says Mathieu Dejardins, senior brand manager of protective equipment at Bauer Hockey. “Bauer has now jumped in headlong into ‘mass customization.' Through our work with EOS and other partners, we are evolving MyBauer custom hockey equipment program to now include helmet inserts specific to the individual, but able to be produced 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.”

3D Printing Digital Foam Helmet Inserts

Bauer had investigated how to leverage and incorporate AM into its business by benchmarking all industrial 3D printing original equipment manufacturers and determined that EOS and its Digital Foam approach to printing polymers was advantageous. With MyBauer, personalized (individualized) products now reach the market for ice hockey.

A player’s head can be scanned, a digital file is created, then using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), a helmet insert—created to reportedly “fit perfectly” to its wearer— is 3D printed in Digital Foam, which involves a varying lattice that is personalized for the wearer for improved comfort, but also lighter weight—at 580 grams, and morer breathability.

Once printed the helmet inserts are colored, finished and readied for final assembly. The production of the REAKT helmet is vertically integrated and is produced in Canada at Bauer’s Quebec facility.

“The innovation at Bauer is amazing, and 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,” says Jon Walker, Digital Foam expert at EOS North America. “Conventional manufacturing is not going to be supplanted by 3D printing, but rather augmented by it and this project is a stellar example.”

The Bauer REAKT helmet is now available now through select retailers that are part of the MyBauer line of product offerings.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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