The 3D printing company Carbon believes that their ability to 3D print complex and lattice structures with enable them to impact and slowly disrupt the foam industry. At the moment foam is still the standard for comfort, safety, and performance but Carbon believes its 3D lattices will be better in all 3 areas. Carbon is known for its CLIP 3D printing technology and presented a new lattice solution, which is capable of generating lattice structures that are based on the user’s needs. The company explained that the solution is able to remove the guesswork from the design process, which results in a unique metamaterial and an understood mechanical response. The software is also capable of generating parts with varied structure, meaning that different densities and mechanical properties can be put into a single part. While foam is still broadly used, it has numerous design constraints because the compression force applied to it increases linearly.
3D printed lattice structures offer the benefit of breathability and can improve comfort through a tunable load-compression profile. Carbon even believes that in the comfort sector its lattices could replace the foam in headsets, seats, headphones and orthopedic pads. One of the main performance applications 3DShoes.com is interested in is things such as sports equipment and running shoes. Carbon has already partnered with Adidas to help bring the innovative 3D printed Futurecraft 4D shoe into mass production. The 3D printed elastomeric lattices could replace EVA foam, which is commonly used for manufacturing sneaker midsoles. Going by the company’s report, the 3D printed turntable lattice structures seem like a versatile competition for foam materials.
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