Materialise—a Belgium-based additive manufacturing (AM) software and 3D printing services provider—has partnered with Tailored Fits, a Swizerland-based provider of anatomically fitting solutions for individual footwear, sports gear and protection gear, to establish an end-to-end digital supply chain for custom-fit ski boots.
Materialise and Tailored Fits have spent the last year developing a customization platform for wearables that supports the supply chain, affording complete automation of the design-to-delivery process.
It has already been made possible for consumers to have their feet scanned in Tailored Fits’s partner sporting goods shops, a process that takes around 10 minutes, and receive 3D printed, custom-fit shoe or boot insoles in under 10 days. Soon, the companies expect to be offering the same service for ski-boot liners and ski-boots.
The process firstly involves the automated design software translating the scans of the wearer’s feet into customized insole designs. These are then conveyed to Materialise’s certified-AM facility as ‘print ready’ and produced in the flexible selective laser sintering (SLS) material TPU-92A1, ready for dispatch.
'At Tailored Fits, we understand skiers’ needs and the biomechanics of sports motion, and we have access to one of the world’s best sports gear development labs’ said Reto Rindlisbacher, chief executive officer (CEO) of Tailored Fits. ‘From the partnership with Materialise, we gained access to the additive manufacturing expertise to develop the best 3D printed solution for making mass customized production a reality. I believe each company has brought out the best in the other.’
‘The creation of a unique digital supply chain meant working incredibly closely with the Tailored Fits team to develop the tailored fit for them,’ added Dr Alireza Parandian, corporate innovations and global strategist for wearables at Materialise. ‘Working with this company has been a real honor and a true co-creation project. I look forward to the identification of similar applications in consumer goods where we can add real value with this customization platform for wearables.’
Materialise is responsible for managing and continuing to enhance the automation process as well as providing 100 percent of the production capacity required to support the supply chain.