At the Advanced Textiles Conference in October in Charlotte, N.C., Anil Kircalianli, head of automation for Orbital Composites (OC), discussed the important role of textiles as a driver for sustainability, particularly in footwear design. Kircalianli argued that the company’s use of 3D printing and robotic manufacturing has created a more sustainable and efficient means of making typically expensive composites.
One application was discovered with Lore, a Seattle, Wash.-based startup, that’s developing a 3D-printed, hard-shelled, high-performance road bike shoe. Using scan-to-print carbon technology featuring OC’s robotic 3D printing platform, the LoreOne shoe is customized to each cyclist’s individual foot shape and printed with continuous fiber composites.
The design increases power transfer and pedaling efficiency via a more direct connection between rider and bicycle when compared to conventional bike shoes. Kircalianli says the complexity of the shoe required creating a flexible micro-factory to produce it. Photo: Orbital Composites