Charnwood Dynamics – low volume, many iterations
Codamotion, the world leader in real-time movement analysis, wanted to manufacture ‘marker clusters’ in relatively small volumes and to have the ability to change designs quickly as new requirements dictated. The material utilised needed to be lightweight and robust as well as be able to be handled many times without deterioration of finish.
Marker clusters are infra–red ‘active’ markers which are placed on an individual in order to track and analyse the movement that individual is making. This may be used in hospitals, clinics, gait laboratories or universities and is also used by sports scientists to assess an athlete’s performance.
Working with the client and Loughborough Design School, it was clear that plastic Additive Manufacturing (AM) would be the ideal production method for the marker clusters. Not only did plastic AM overcome the problem that traditional injection moulding of the parts would require prohibitively expensive tooling but also, plastic AM gave Codamotion the opportunity to tweak the designs and put the part into rapid production with a turn-round of just a few days.
In the 3T additive manufacturing process nylon (PA12) was used. This was the ideal material for the clusters as they needed to be lightweight as well as being strong, durable and stable. The clusters are a complex shape which made them the ideal product to be produced by plastic AM .
David Mitchelson, Codamotion’s Chairman, comments “We are constantly seeking to take advantage of the latest advances in electronics, optics and manufacturing technology to enhance our products for 3D movement analysis. These lightweight, completely wireless and self identifying clusters are the latest embodiment of this philosophy. They incorporate advances in miniaturisation of electronics and battery technology stimulated by the mobile telecoms industry and the superb flexibility of selective laser sintering for complex mechanical component manufacture. The experience and skills we have gained in developing the clusters is also being applied to other exciting future additions to our family of products.”
It is in the sports performance arena that this technology is now attracting considerable interest, not least because the system can be used just as effectively outdoors, as under laboratory conditions. The new CodaSport system can also be broken down and rebuilt in a different place in ten minutes.
It is highly likely therefore, that the next time you watch your favourite sports star performing at the Olympics, World Cup, Ryder Cup or Wimbledon that they may have had their performance assessed with CodaSport equipment incorporating a little of the technology available from 3T RPD Ltd.