Riddell Partners with Carbon to Produce 3D Printed Football Helmet Liner

The Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond Helmet delivers innovation with new digitally manufactured football helmet liner.

The Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond Helmet delivers innovation with new digitally manufactured football helmet liner.

Riddell Speedflex Precision Diamond Helmet. Image courtesy of Business Wire.

Riddell and Carbon have partnered to bring customized, digital design innovation to head protection through Riddell’s new Diamond helmet platform. Powered by Carbon, the new platform features a 3D printed lattice liner that is digitally manufactured using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology. The technology is initially available in the Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmet model, which features Riddell’s Precision-Fit head scanning and helmet fitting process. The result is head protection for today’s athletes a customized, 3D printed helmet liner precisely contoured to the athlete’s head.

“Riddell is known for head protection leadership. Our partnership with Carbon, Silicon Valley’s leading digital manufacturer, reinforces our commitment to advancing on-field protection for football players,” says Riddell senior vice president of Research and Product Development, Thad Ide. “As the first to use digital manufacturing in football helmets, Riddell continues our industry leadership by embracing promising new technologies and advancing our innovation roadmap today and into the future.”

The core technology uses a custom designed, highly damping elastomer from Carbon, in the form of a lattice structure to create the helmet liner. The Carbon Lattice Engine leverages physical simulation and optimization techniques to tune structures to further manage both linear and rotational impact energies.

Each helmet is made up of more than 140,000 individual struts, made into patterns for attenuating impact forces while providing comfort and fit. The result is a Carbon DLS-printed, custom fit, impact absorbing helmet liner designed to advance the head protection. Riddell’s database of over 5 million impacts captured by Riddell’s smart helmet technology will allow for custom and individualized tuning of lattice structures in the future.

Carbon’s recent breakthroughs in software, hardware and materials make the Diamond platform possible. The latest advancements in Carbon’s platform include the new L1 printer and custom resin material. The L1, also being unveiled by Carbon, is specially designed and built to produce at scale. The custom resin used to print the lattice structures in the Diamond liners was designed specifically to meet Riddell’s performance requirements.

“As someone who’s spent thousands of hours watching film, I know that no two players play the same way,” says Riddell Strategic Advisor and Brand Ambassador Peyton Manning. “They all have different styles and tendencies on the field, which is another key benefit to Riddell’s Diamond Technology. With the SpeedFlex Precision Diamond, players are not only experiencing the latest in head protection, they can also dictate where the helmet is positioned to improve sightlines and maximize field vision.”

Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmets were used by select players on most NFL teams during the 2018 season and will be commercially available on a limited basis at the elite level starting in 2019.

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

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