Boston-based sportswear developer New Balance have been interested in 3D printing for a while. They previously announced an additive manufacturing based venture with Formlabs back in 2016. Now, they’ve unveiled their TripleCell platform for the production of Sneakers. The TripleCell creates footwear with high-performance cushioning properties, which the company is also using in their new line of 990 Sport sneakers along with future products.
“TripleCell will deliver the industry’s pinnacle expression of data to design with seamless transitions between variable properties underfoot,” said Katherine Petrecca, New Balance General Manager, Innovation Design Studio. “This new, cutting edge, digitally manufactured technology is now scaling exclusively within New Balance factories in the U.S. further establishing us as a leader in 3D printing and domestic manufacturing. Formlabs has been an integral partner to bring this to life. We’re really going to be able to disrupt the industry not only in performance, but also in athlete customization and speed to market.”
With the TripleCell, the latest New Balance sneakers are 10% lighter than previous models. In terms of sportswear, that weight reduction is a massive decrease and great for quick-footed athletes. While the new sneakers are high quality, that also comes with fairly high prices. The company’s 990 Sport sneaker, which consists of a 3D printed TripleCell heel is available for $185. Similarly, on September 15, the company is also releasing their FuelCell Echo, which will retail for $175.
Formlabs & New Balance’s Partnership
Formlabs has been a great help in developing a lot of the materials and technologies that go into New Balance’s sneakers. Since 2017, the companies have been working together to create a new photopolymer called Rebound Resin. The material brings in a soft, bouncy quality while maintaining high strength and strong lattice structures.
“3D printing is changing how companies approach manufacturing, with this announcement New Balance is pioneering localized manufacturing,” said Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer of Formlabs. “By eliminating the dependence on molds and direct printing for both prototyping and production, their team shifts from months to hours in the development and production cycles. We’re moving towards a world where design cycles are closing in on the whim of the consumer and it’s exciting to be on the frontlines of this with New Balance.”
The FuelCell Echo sneaker also integrates a 3D printed structure, although with slightly different technology. It utilises forefoot technology, which are optimised for speed. It makes use of the FuelCell platform, also by New Balance. These sneakers are part of a new wave of 3D printed footwear, which incorporates customisation and precise fitting for the customer.
Featured image courtesy of New Balance.