Oakley has partnered with HP to boost its prototyping capability with 3D printers.
The California-based sports performance brand is a leading manufacturer of glasses and sports apparel and will use HP 3D Printers to create prototypes and functional products across its portfolio starting this year.
“World-class athletes around the globe depend on Oakley to compete at the highest level,” explains Nicolas Garfias, Head of Design at Oakley, “With HP’s breakthrough 3D printing technology, we will not only accelerate our design to production timeline, but we will also reconceptualize the way our products are made, pushing the boundaries of sports performance to new heights.”
HP 3D Printers utilise an HP-proprietary technology called Multi Jet Fusion, which can manufacture models from nylon in full colour.
This technology utilises two perpendicular carriages to transform powdered plastic (Nylon 12) into solid parts, by fusing the nylon filament with detailing agents on the print bed. An infrared heater then sweeps across the bed to cure the layers.
One of these detailing agents is millions of drops of light-absorbing ink. These inks have different properties. Some are binding accelerators, others are colours. When it passes over, the infrared light triggers a chemical reaction which transforms these droplets into colours, or the binding agents that fuse the parts solid.
Oakley’s decision to utilise this technology in their workflow means they can now manufacture full-colour products with 3D printing. In doing so, they can eliminate the need for painting and time-intensive post-processing.
Another benefit of MJF is it is several times faster at printing than FFF and SLA. On average, the same parts are printed 5 to 10x faster with MJF. Combine this with the fact that no support material is needed (each layer is self-supporting), and MJF offers the most capable way to manufacture geometrically complex parts rapidly.
With more companies moving toward more sustainable manufacturing processes, HP’s MJF technology offers a benefit here too – in MJF, the recovered powder can be 80-85% recycled and reused versus around 50% with SLA.
Oakley will use this technology to enable rapid prototyping. An immediate application is the fabrication and testing of colour-coordinated parts. Individual parts can be printed in a fraction of the time of traditional 3D printing. “Oakley has the highest of design standards, and our innovative 3D printing technology helps them deliver on that experience for millions of athletes around the world,” says Jeff Fawcett, 3D Printing Product Management at HP Inc. “Together, we are transforming the sports performance community and changing the way the world designs and manufactures consumer products.”