Established in 1906, New Balance is one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers. Way back in 2013, the company, which also makes athletic clothing, used 3D printing technology for the first time to create custom spike plates for track athlete Jack Bolas. The company continued to supply customized 3D printed spikes and cleats to its sponsored athletes, but in 2015, New Balance announced that it was teaming up with 3D Systems to release a limited edition high performance running shoe with a 3D printed midsole, made using 3D Systems’ Dura Form Flex TPU elastomeric powder.
New Balance成立于1906年，是世界上最大的制鞋商之一。早在2013年，这家同时也制作运动服装的公司首次使用3D打印技术为田径运动员杰克·博拉斯（Jack Bolas）定制了私人鞋钉和防滑钉。该公司继续为其赞助运动员提供3D打印的定制鞋钉和防滑钉，在2015年，New Balance宣布与3D Systems合作发布一款限量版高性能跑鞋，该鞋采用3D打印的中底，使用3D Systems 研发的Dura Form Flex TPU弹性粉末。
New Balance Zane Generate
44 pairs of the New Balance Zane Generate, the first commercially available 3D printed running sneaker, were released last year.
去年发布的第一款商用3D打印跑步运动鞋New Balance Zane Generate 44双。
“New Balance is at the forefront of 3D printing and has been utilizing this exciting and innovative technology to customize product for our athletes for a number of years,” Robert Departing, the President and CEO of New Balance, said last April. “Our unique position as both a manufacturer and retailer allows us to bring the world’s first 3D printed running midsole to market. The Zane Generate demonstrates the strength of New Balance design and innovation and will allow consumers to own a piece of running technology history.”
New Balance公司总裁兼首席执行官罗伯特·德马蒂尼（Robert Departing）去年四月表示：“New Balance公司在3D打印方面处于领先地位，并且多年一直利用这一激动人心的创新技术为运动员定制产品。我们同时为制造商和零售商的独特地位使我们能够将世界上第一个3D打印的跑步鞋中底推向市场。Zane Generate系列展示了New Balance强大的设计和创新的实力，并让消费者成为跑步鞋技术发展历史的一部份。”
Each shoe takes several hours to complete. Traditional materials, such as an engineered mesh, are used to manufacture the rest of the shoe, while the soft yet strong midsole is 3D printed using a selective laser sintering (SLS) process.
Once the midsole, which features an internal honeycomb structure for maximum cushion and support, is 3D printed, it’s removed from the powder bed for cleaning and post processing, before being sent to New Balance’s Boston manufacturing facility for assembly and finishing.
During the actual SLS process, a laser is used to convert the powder into solid cross sections; this powder was actually the subject of a recent case study. During the initial stage of making the Zane Generate shoes, the New Balance laboratory began processing small batch work. However, once the company decided to take the process to the next level – large-scale commercialization – it asked fine mesh separation technology expert Russell Fine for help in finding a more efficient way to increase powder throughput and improve flow ability for its prototypes.
在实际的SLS过程中，激光用来将粉末转化为实心截面;这粉末是最近一个案例研究的对象。在制作Zane Generate鞋的初始阶段，New Balance实验室从小批量开始。然而，该公司还是决定将这个工艺提升到一个新的水平——大规模商业化– 公司咨询了精细网格分离技术专家Russell Fine公司帮忙寻找一种更有效的方法来提高粉末产量并改善原产品的流动性。
The solution was to sieve the 3D printing powders with ultrasonic screening technology. After consultations and a product trial at the specialized Russell Fine test facility, New Balance made the decision to purchase a Russell Compact Sieve, as well as a Vibrasonic Declining System.
而解决方案就是使用超声波筛选技术筛选3D打印粉末。在Russell Fine专门店针对测试设备进行咨询和试用后，New Balance决定购买Russell 压缩滤网以及Vibrasonic Declining系统。
The versatile, high-capacity sieve is an industrial screener, and is about half the height of a traditional sieve. It comes with a solid rubber suspension, which brings the volume level down to as low as 70 dab, and is designed to lower cleaning time as well. Because it can be easily stripped down without tools, operators can access the mesh screens easily, so New Balance can ensure the purity, and increase throughput, of its processed 3D printing powder.
Just like it invented the ultrasonic sieve declining technology, Russell Fine also developed the patented Vibrasonic Declining System, which upholds throughput rates, increases the service life of mesh screens, and lowers powder product loss.
“To put in numerical terms, to sieve 20 kg of material using the OEM provided equipment would take approximately eight hours,” explained Dr. Daniel Dempsey, Additive Manufacturing Engineer for New Balance. “With the [Russell Fine] sieve plus Vibrasonic, I can do the same amount in roughly ten minutes.” New Balance的增材制造工程师Daniel Dempsey博士说：“用数字来说，使用OEM提供的设备来筛选20公斤的材料大概需要8个小时。 而使用[Russell Fine]的滤网和Vibrasonic系统，我可以在大约十分钟内完成同样的工作。”
The Vibrasonic System makes sure that the equipment runs continuously, at optimum performance, so it can quickly process the fragile, difficult powders that New Balance uses to 3D print the midsoles for its Zane Generate shoes.
Vibrasonic系统确保设备以最佳性能连续运行，因此能够快速处理New Balance用于3D打印Zane Generate鞋中底所使用的又脆弱又难控制的粉末。