EOS, a leading supplier of industrial 3D printing technology, reports strong market demand for applications with its patented 3D printed flexible lattice. EOS calls it Digital Foam.
Invented by EOS employees Michael Jan Galba, Monika Gessler, and Johann Oberhofer, the patent relates to any generatively 3D printed object which has a flexible grid-like structure or matrix (i.e., lattice), composed of open cells that are joined together in groups of differing characteristics. Described in basic terms, this covers any varying 3D printed lattice structures morphing into each other.
Whether applied to polymers or metals, the IP covers the additive manufacturing of any three-dimensional object that has a lattice structure designed for predetermined flexibility characteristics is protected by EOS in the U.S under Patent number 10,259,041 issued in April 2019 – and globally, with other filings.
One of the patent’s authors, Michael Jan Galba, saw the potential of this development years ago. “We knew that this process would enable unprecedented manufacturing customization opportunities. But seeing the adoption by so many innovative organizations who are really making it a cornerstone of their 3D printed applications has surpassed our expectations.”
“Designers are able to make groups of cells creating a lattice that can be engineered with varying levels of compressibility,” adds Galba. “One common example we are seeing leverage this IP is in athletic footwear. Now, consumers can purchase footwear tailored to their specific needs or desired performance characteristics, such as shoe soles with varying compressibility in the heel, toe, and arch areas, made all in one additively manufactured piece. This is a great real-world use-case of mass customization.”
Early adopters of EOS’ Digital Foam are seeking product differentiation, competitive advantages, and improved product performance characteristics including safety, comfort, lightweighting and “tuneability.”