Salomon Uses Prodways SLS 3D Printing to Create High-Performance Ski Boots

Published on December 14, 2023 by Nunzia A.
Prodways Salomon

When it comes to the highly competitive industrial world, innovation is key to success. And as companies face new challenges and products are being launched on the market with greater frequency and improved features, companies and leaders in numerous sectors are turning to even more cutting-edge technologies. Through these, they hope to offer their customers not just new, but improved products. Moreover, in the world of Industry 4.0, companies are further optimizing production processes, looking not just economic efficiency but also better sustainability and smarter production.

For that reason, the role of 3D printing is increasingly important in industry because it meets these needs – both for rapid prototyping and production of end-use parts. In fact, the greatest benefits of this technology include the ability to imagine parts with geometries never made before (thanks to the support of digital tools), to repeat tests on shapes and materials quickly and with reduced costs and to offer highly customized, high-performance products. One clear example comes from Salomon, a French outdoor sports equipment manufacturing giant, which decided to optimize its new ski boots with additive manufacturing, using SLS technology from Prodways.

The Benefits of SLS 3D Printing in Prototyping and Pre-Production Analysis

Salomon is a company known worldwide for manufacturing some of the most rugged and durable outdoor equipment. From hiking footwear to high-performance ski boots, the company is a one-stop shop for athletes, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts.

The challenge for the company came when developing a new line of ski boots for athletes who ski professionally and thus require a high degree of performance. After various tests, Salomon’s designers chose to integrate rapid prototyping into the design process, using Prodways’ SLS 3D printing. The rapid prototyping process is essential in product development, especially testing product features, material and overall performance. In the case of Salomon’s ski boots, using 3D printing enabled prototypes to study the product best suited to the needs of the most demanding athletes.

It is not surprising that SLS technology was the best solution, as it is a widely used additive technology at the industrial level for its speed, precision and high-production volume. In particular, the Prodways machine used, the ProMaker P1000x 3D printer, features a large build chamber (300 x 300 x 360 mm), offering good speed and fine detail, both of which proved useful for Salomon’s product testing and analysis phase.

Developing Salomon Ski Boots With 3D Printing: From Design to Final Concept

The design of Salomon’s new boot was initially created with computer-aided design (CAD) software, which allowed designers to create extremely accurate digital prototypes of the product. Once the design was completed, the boot prototypes were then 3D printed with Prodways’ ProMaker P1000x 3D printer in polypropylene (PP 1200), a material developed by BASF and characterized by good chemical resistance, high elasticity, low moisture absorption and good recyclability.

In blue, the finished boot shell made by injection molding after prototype approval. Once fitted with the liner, straps and everything necessary, it is wearable.

Using 3D printing, Salomon’s designers were able to check the assembly, make sure the parts fit together well, examine part deformations and stiffness, verify the design of the lace hooks and their attachment and perform a geometric analysis of the boot. From a practical point of view, the use of additive manufacturing made it possible to speed up the time for prototyping, studying and testing the product, as well as to save on production costs by cutting down many steps between CAD validation and mass production of the product.

This iterative process was key to ensuring that the boots were of the highest quality and met the high demands of the athletes who rely on Salomon. You can learn more about Prodways SLS 3D printing HERE.

What do you think of the use of Prodways’ SLS 3D printing solutions to make the new ski boots from Salomon? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel. 

*All Photo Credits: Prodways 

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