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Seiko Optical Europe, Materialise to introduce 3D printed sports eyewear collection

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Belgium based 3D printing service and company Materialise NV has recently collaborated with Seiko Optical Europe in designing and manufacturing an additively manufactured collection of sports eyewear. Excitingly, the collection, called Xchanger, was awarded the Silmo d’Or award for excellence in optical innovation in the Sport Equipment Category at the Silmo optics fair in Paris where it was introduced.
The collaboration between Materialise and Seiko was an effort to design and make a new collection of sports eyewear that would equally emphasize performance, comfort, and style. The sunglasses, which are indeed quite modern and sleek in their appearance are also extremely lightweight and strong, all important factors for any sports enthusiast. Materialise writes:
The Xchanger frames are 3D-printed in a certified bio-compatible material with a silk-like molecular structure that is lighter than titanium and stronger than acetate: extremely lightweight but highly resistant at the same time.
Seiko found that by employing 3D printing technologies they could make their ideal sports eyewear. Because of the freedom to design and engineer almost anything through 3D printing software they could include certain features in the glasses design that would otherwise be impossible, or at the very least, extremely complicated. Among these features are a validated anti-fog ventilation system, an integrated lens-change mechanism, and high-curvature lenses which help provide wider viewing angles.
Taking advantage of the customization offered by 3D printing technologies as well, Seiko have provided several choices for their clients in the design of the eyewear. Customers can choose from three different inclination angles, and have the choice between five frame sizes and two temple length. In terms of style as well, there are nine different color options for the Xchanger collection, as they have made it possible to choose different colors for each of the glasses’ individual components.
The eyewear collection’s resistance and light weight are credited to the material they are 3D printed from, which is a certified material which has a molecular structure similar to silk, and which is reportedly stronger than acetate while still remaining quite light.
To maintain quality control of their 3D printed products, Seiko have enlisted the help of Materialise, who have provided their proprietary Additive Manufacturing Control Platform (AMCP). “The AMCP enables full control of the printing process and integrates into Materialise’s software platform, which is used for the entire production process from design to finishing, ensuring that each set of frames is traceable through each step of manufacturing.” Seiko explains.

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