A London-based creator of custom fit cycling helmets is leveraging additive manufacturing to manufacture safe, high-impact resistant helmet inner structures, tailored to the individual wearer.
HEXR, which has been working with 3D printing technology from EOS since 2015, produces one-off helmets, designed at the University of Oxford, using a 3D scan to 3D print workflow that combines a mobile fitting app, EOS’s polymer selective laser sintering technology, and plant-based materials from Arkema.
The customisation process starts when the customer takes a 3D scan using HEXR’s recently launched fitting app, which uses a 30,000-point 3D mesh to assess the precise dimensions and curvature of the wearer’s head. The data is then used to automatically generate and 3D print a honeycomb inner shell made up of hexagonal cells in a powder sourced from renewable castor oil.
Adrien Lapeyre, global 3D printing market manager at Arkema, explained: “This truly unique advanced material not only offers superior impact and lightweight properties, but it is derived from a highly sustainable feedstock which does not compete with food, and does not cause deforestation. The beans take less than one year to grow, as opposed to perhaps a million years required for traditional fossil feedstock.”
HEXR leverages 3T Additive Manufacturing’s EOS systems to manufacture the helmets in batches of up to six, which are then cooled, post-processed and dyed black using DyeMansion’s automated DM60 machine before undergoing inspection for structural integrity and quality.
Jamie Cook, CEO at HEXR, commented: “With custom-fit intrinsic to this leading-edge manufacturing process, and superior independent safety test scores compared with traditional foam helmets, we are enabling major improvements in helmet technology made possible by 3D printing.”
Speaking about ability to manufacture helmets on demand and reduce inventory, Henry Neilson, CTO at HEXR added: “Based on this technology, we have a low-risk and very efficient scan-to-product solution, avoiding any pre-financing of products, minimum production quantities, or over-production. As such, we can completely focus on our key competencies, whilst relying on established production processes.”
Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President EMEA at EOS concludes: “HEXR is an example of a more flexible supply chain and production technology in action, and we see many similar business cases emerging in other industries too.”
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