The individual knee pad elements on the pattern, finished knee pad with its 3D-printed structural elements and simulation of product
3D-printed knee protection: from simulation to the product © Christine Steinem

Beautiful protection, fitting perfectly well

The Situation

Protectors for work and sportswear is mostly bulky and uncomfortable. On the one hand, you can order some protectors in different sizes. But normally they are only available one-sized. Which means that very often people rather refrain from wearing them. The consequences might be injuries. 

The Project

To give an incentive to wear those protectors regularly the Research Institute for Textiles and Clothing at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences has now developed comfortable, functional and visually attractive elements. They are connected directly with the piece of garment. They can be adapted to the size and form of its wearer as well as to a special purpose of use by choosing the material accordingly. The digital process chain starts with a body scan which ensures a perfect fit. Some basic models had been developed as well so that efficient product development and resource-friendly production is guaranteed. 

The protectors can be 3D-printed on-site, which keeps investment costs under control. In the project knee pads, spacers for breathing masks or even protectors for postural support on the back, for example when carrying a rucksack, were produced. No large production sites are necessary for the production chain developed in the project. Everything can be organised on-demand, on-site and near to the user. That means the goods do not have to be transported that far and it saves store capacities, which in turn saves money and environmentally friendly. Additionally, production processes can be customised. The production of 3D-printed protection elements is a completely new concept especially in the area of work safety and by high individualization, it could make the local production of high-quality products more profitable.

For further information, please contact

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Maike Rabe
maike.rabe@hs-niederrhein.de
+49 2161 186 6110 

Funding

Industrial Collective Research (Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung (IGF) - No. 211 EN