By Mariona Company, Global Head of HP 3D Printing Sustainable Packaging and Marketing
Thoughtful innovation can have a real impact on business, people, and the planet. 3D printing solutions enable more sustainable manufacturing and production across industries, including automotive, healthcare, industrial, packaging, consumer, and sporting goods. Using 3D printing in the production of final parts and prototypes is quicker and can use less energy, less time, and create less waste than traditional manufacturing.
Today, at HP Imagine, HP unveiled a new partnership with Brooks Running that is set to disrupt the performance running footwear market. The first innovation resulting from the collaboration is the never-seen-before Brooks Exhilarate-BlueLine running shoes.
In addition to pushing the limits of technology, HP and Brooks share a commitment to purpose-driven innovation, changing lives for the better, and doing what’s right for our planet. Footwear developed by the Brooks BlueLine Lab is at the forefront of harnessing technology, biomechanical research, engineering, and design to advance the power of running shoes. The Lab’s newest innovation, the Exhilarate-BL shoe, is designed, engineered, and manufactured in partnership with HP, using our industry-leading 3D printing solution.
The Brooks Exhilarate-BL features 3DNA, a 3D-printed midsole technology that delivers a propulsive, bouncy ride. More than that, it has also been specifically designed and tuned to groups of sizes based on runner data so that each runner has the optimal cushioning and spring with each stride. HP independently validated that our Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology produces midsoles that deliver higher energy return than 90% of the midsoles in running shoes on the market today1.
Brooks will release a limited number of Exhilarate-BL pairs, as part of a test and learn program, to select Brooks Wear Testers and Brooks Run Club loyalty members who have synced their wearable devices through Brooks’ platform, in partnership with DashLX. Through wearables, Brooks is able to access runner data including their stride lengths, cadences, and other factors influenced by height and weight that will help inform future iterations of Brooks shoes featuring 3DNA.
Nikhil Jain, director of footwear product line management and BlueLine at Brooks, said “using HP’s 3D printing technology has allowed our design team to fine-tune elements of the midsole right down to the millimeter in ways that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. As a brand rooted in the science that every individual has a unique motion path, we’re just scratching the surface in terms of how we can change the underfoot experience and use 3D printing to deliver a premium, performance run experience with the potential for greater optimization.”
At the same time, Brooks has been able to do so more sustainably by using less materials during production. “As a brand, we are focused on doing our part to ensure the shoes that we are building take a lot less energy and virgin material to manufacture,” he said. “And from a sustainability perspective we are learning how 3D printing can help us on that journey.”
Reimagining entire industries with HP 3D printing
Brooks isn’t the only company using HP 3D printing to disrupt industries and using purpose-driven innovation to reimagine a more sustainable future.
Innovation without purpose is not going to be accepted or needed in the future. Purpose-driven innovation is no longer a choice; it’s now an obligation.
The consumer goods industry is innovating with 3D printing as well. For instance, in addition to Brooks, HP has partnered with Decathalon, one of the world’s largest sports companies, and Lonati Group, a major textile company, to use HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology for making shoe elements, namely soles, more sustainably. One of the main goals of the alliance is to offer more “customized, recyclable, and local produced footwear” options. HP is also working with Smith Optics to produce personalized snow ski goggles that eliminate light leaks, air gaps, and hot spots. Named one of Time Magazine’s Inventions of the Year, the goggles are not only more sustainable, but they also make skiing safer and more enjoyable.
Healthcare is another area where HP 3D printing is adding value to peoples’ lives. From personalized orthotics and prosthetics (O&P), and related customer health and wellness solutions to surgical guides and treatments such as radiation therapy, these solutions are already dramatically improving patient health. In O&P for example, HP is working with clinics and manufacturers to challenge the status quo in several applications such as prosthetic sockets, ankle-foot orthoses, and pediatric cranial helmets.
Heavy industry is using HP’s solutions to accelerate purpose-driven innovation as well. Some John Deere tractors, for example, contain 3D-printed engine parts manufactured using HP’s Metal Jet S100 Solution. The Solution enables the company to produce parts about 50% cheaper using less material.
Schneider Electric, the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, is using HP Metal Jet to produce a filter for its NSX breaker which could not be achieved with conventional industrial manufacturing due to the shape and material complexity. HP Metal Jet technology not only facilitated the design of new power filters shapes that reduce gas, pressure, and heat impact in a more limited space, it also resulted in significant productivity gains and environmental benefits.
HP is also aiding the packaging industry in their quest to produce more sustainable alternatives. HP’s Molded Fiber Tooling Solution is enabling manufacturers to produce molded fiber packaging which is being used to replace the environmentally unfriendly plastics for items like egg cartons, coffee cup carriers, and food trays.
HP 3D Printing Solutions
1 Based on HP internal testing completed August 2021, energy return data collected using Satra STM 479, 5J drop test, 50mm height, from a sample set of 50 different running shoes from various brands.