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EOS Launches New Program for 3D-Printed Foam Applications


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EOS North America (EOS) and its Additive Minds applied engineering team have launched its digital foam program – in a move to simplify the complexity of bringing 3D-printed foam to market. This hub orchestrated by EOS connects CAD, materials, part qualification and additive manufacturing.

In this hub, rather than the customer needing to solve for all of these variables, digital foam is said to pave the path and gets ideas to reality faster. It gives customers a fast-track to producing 3D-printed protective headgear, individualized orthotics, or performance footwear, among dozens of other applications.

Using flexible polymer materials, like TPU or PEBA, 3D printing foam allows the fine-tuning of each voxel for a reported superior comfort, safety and performance characteristics. But EOS says the process is a “sophisticated endeavor that historically requires complex engineering and long cycle times to fully unlock its value – and one that digital foam solves.”

Digital foam begins with engineering software and New York City-based nTopology is helping simplify engineering design, analysis and the preparation processes. Bradley Rothenberg, CEO of nTopology, commented: “Digital foam accelerates the adoption of 3D printing, enabling tunable architected materials like foams. This improves upon basic applications making them exceptional -- for example helmets that are not only safer, but also lighter-weight and more comfortable."

Already employing digital foam is Aetrex, a provider in foot-scanning technology, orthotics and comfort footwear. Through its partnership with EOS, Aetrex uses a digital foam approach to analyze customers' feet using its proprietary Albert scanning system, identify pressure points, and then produce custom 3D-printed orthotics. The result is an individualized orthotics product, manufactured via mass customization.

EOS and its partner organizations will be submitting a digital foam entry as part of its NFL Helmet Challenge submission, competing to engineer and develop football helmets that outperform today's models. The winner of the NFL Helmet Challenge will be announced in May 2021.

“The level of engineering required to produce, say, a safer football helmet is massive, but the benefits are equally massive for end users," said Greg Hayes, senior vice president of applied engineering at EOS North America. “The digital foam program was designed to make those huge improvements much easier and less time-consuming for organizations."