Whether it’s a bicycle or motorbike, the saddle is the paramount comfort factor of every two-wheeler. Bikers know that a comfortable saddle is vital – without it, any tour quickly becomes torture.
Leading German AM polymer processing specialist OECHSLER and Forward AM teamed up to develop a new-generation motorbike saddle by harnessing the advantages of Additive Manufacturing. While OECHSLER market and product know-how was essential for the development and programming process of the seat, advanced material from Forward AM is key to enabling the functional benefits: Using industrial-scale 3D printing technology and high-performance Ultrasint® TPU01, the two companies designed a motorbike saddle that delivers the comfort riders demand. The objective was to enhance the in-saddle experience by taking the biomechanical specifications of different customer groups into account, across all segments including sports bikes, tourers, and off-roaders.
Thanks to the design freedom enabled by Additive Manufacturing, the saddle can be produced in a single piece – reducing assembly time and ultimately cost. Thanks to freely designable lattice structures only possible with Additive Manufacturing, a fully integrated cushioning experience unlocks greatly enhanced comfort.
The material of choice, Ultrasint® TPU01 by Forward AM, is ideal for the production of parts requiring excellent long-term shock absorption, energy return, and flexibility. Parts printed with Ultrasint® TPU 01 deliver strong, flexible and durable performance, combined with excellent surface quality and level of detail. Ultrasint® TPU01 opens unlimited design possibilities: it is extremely easy to print, has a very high process stability, and one of the highest throughputs for flexible materials in the 3D printing market. These unique characteristics make it a perfect fit for serial production with HP Multi Jet Fusion printers. With Ultrasint® TPU01, flexible lattice structures become easily possible.
The saddle consists of several layers of differing cushioning structures, combined in a single pad. The specific mapping of the cushioning surface was the result of extensive digital simulation and real-world testing.
“The motorcycle saddle is a core interface between rider and motorcycle. Additive Manufacturing enables us to go beyond the limits of conventional materials and manufacturing processes, and deliver greater comfort and safety.”
Max Lehnert, Program Manager Additive Manufacturing Lattice, OECHSLER.
Applying Additive Manufacturing makes the motorbike saddle assembly process much simpler and shorter: No gluing process is needed anymore and the top-cover material does not need to be attached with potentially dangerous metal staples. What’s more, the 3D printed saddle is up to 25 percent lighter than the traditionally manufactured model, meaning a major saving in material. All these clear benefits translate directly into lower manufacturing costs.
By joining forces, OECHSLER and Forward AM achieved lightweight design, air permeability, and increased material stability while delivering greatly improved user comfort on long rides!
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For more information about OECHSLER and its offerings with additive manufacturing head over here.