New Balance & Formlabs Continue 3D Printing Pioneering Journey in Footwear

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When it comes to 3D printing for footwear, New Balance is undeniably off and running—now updating their premium TripleCell platform (launched June 28th, 2019), powered by SLA technology from Formlabs. Continuing in their pioneering journey together, New Balance is making a serious and notable shift from conventional manufacturing of shoes. Sprinting ahead with the new FuelCell Echo Triple to be launched on September 27th, New Balance will be able to offer excellent performance with improved cushioning at a price point of $175, available in the following New Balance Global Flagships:

  • Shanghai
  • London
  • New York
  • Boston
  • San Francisco

The shoes will also be sold at Foot Patrol in the UK, Sport Check in Canada, and online.

The history of the partnership between New Balance and Formlabs goes back to 2017 as the Massachusetts-headquartered 3D printing systems specialist put the world on notice regarding new high-performance materials, along with hardware, and new processes for creating running shoes.

“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.”

One of the results of this new partnership and ongoing research and development effort was Rebound Resin. A Formlabs photopolymer resin, this proprietary injection molded thermoplastic offers:

  • Resilience
  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Longevity

Rebound Resin allows for superior lattice structures that are not only adaptable but springy.

“TripleCell will deliver the industry’s pinnacle expression of data to design with seamless transitions between variable properties underfoot”, says 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 initial concept created by The New Balance Innovation Design Studio, the FuelCell Echo Triple is ‘based on the growing focus of forefoot technology,’ with the 990 originally chosen to harken back to a strong yet classic form. The heel has similar cushioning but is ten percent lighter. This new footwear technology is made and assembled in the US.

The connection between 3D printing and footwear—along with many other types of fashion—is not only functional but fascinating as everybody from the general user to the athlete to fashionistas may find something to wear. And of course, as innovations like futuristic running shoes, high heels, ballet shoes, and even martial arts shoes emerge, this is still only the beginning of what many refer to as the new industrial revolution.

For shoes, the ability to manufacture in a DIY setting and customize shoes, orthotics, and more means an unprecedented level of options, comfort, and style. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: Formlabs/New Balance]

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