The American bobsleigh and skeleton team (USABS) is upgrading its sleds with individualized 3D-printed parts. These should not only be lighter and more resilient, but also improve the athletes’ performance. The components are supplied by CRP USA.
According to USABS team leader Marc van den Berg, the additively manufactured components such as grips and seat shells can be adapted to the athletes’ needs more quickly than conventional manufacturing processes. The use of fiber-reinforced high-tech plastics also allows crashes to be cushioned better.
When it comes to materials, CRP USA relies on its own Windform compounds. The parts are made of “Windform XT 2.0” or “Windform SP”, for example, which offer high strength at a relatively low weight. According to van den Berg, tests have shown that the components can withstand sled crashes without damage.
In the medium term, the complete additive manufacturing of a high-tech bobsleigh sled is even conceivable. The tailor-made components have already enabled a previously impossible level of individualization and increased performance.