Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Sport Infinity Report Summary

Project ID: 645987

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Sport Infinity (Waste-Based Rapid Adhesive-free Production of Sports goods)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The core objective of the Sport Infinity consortium is to identify and develop innovative compounds and composites utilising material recycling concepts which will enable the automatic production of easily configurable plastic sport goods making use of highly efficient and sustainable forming processes.

Shin guards, balls and shoes have been selected as pilot products for the development and the sequence and order of the demonstrators planned to increase in complexity as the project progresses.

The project will focus on the production of different plastic sports goods and will adopt a design-driven approach exploiting, among other techniques, the automation potential of rotation moulding processes, which offer significant design freedom, as well as the possibility of bonding together a multitude of different materials, while effecting external product shaping without using glue and/or other adhesives.

The main S&T objectives of the projects are:

• The identification, selection and processing of appropriate materials (virgin or recycled), enabling the achievement of semi-automated and sustainable production.
• The design and development of innovative semi-automatic production processes, enabling local production of customisable sports goods, focusing on shoes and footballs
• Definition and development of an integrated design approach, based on effective knowledge management and including user-involvement in the configuration of custom products and the exploitation of open innovation principles focusing on design.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first year of the project was mainly dedicated towards setting out the framework for the project. The partners worked closely together to further define the ideas described in the GA into more targeted requirements and specifications – to provide clear guidance for the development path. A lot of effort was put into fundamental material and processing trials, benchmark testing and target setting. Focus was on learning, evaluating and identify the most suitable materials and processes for creating the Sport Infinity Products.

Based on this evaluation the focus was directed to more innovative processes and materials which provide the best recycling opportunities. These decisions and their implications were discussed with all partners to align the work for further research & development effectively.

The first level of technological improvement and proof of concept was the production of a shin guard, showcasing how an adhesive-free, multi-layer product can be created with the selected material in a rotational molding process. The design ideas for the Sport Infinity products have been agreed with the partners and applied in the first version to the shin guard. More complex geometries are being developed and tested to further explore options on customization and the inclusion of recycled material. An experimental machine has been setup for early trials of shoes, designs have been agreed with the partners and are being optimized based on the feedback from the trial results. Requirements for a new machine and equipment have been collected and an overview of the construction approach for the new machine has been provided.

Technical dissemination of the findings from LKT, Leeds and CETI have led to publications and presentations at conferences.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SPORT INFINITY exploitable results will cover a wide range of materials, products, processes, machines, software systems, as well as new methods and models and new knowledge.

These can be grouped as follows:
• Products: Customisable shin guards in small lots and/or lot of one, customisable footballs in small lots, customisable sports shoes. All products should be made of sustainable and recyclable materials by automized processes. Recycled material should be included in the products.
• Materials: New range of innovative materials with enhanced controllable properties, waste-based materials and composites (multi-layer) with pronounced sustainability profile and controllable properties.
• Processes: Innovative Machinery and Production Processes enabling semi-automatic local production of sports goods
• New Design Methodologies, innovative ways of co-creation and the usage of Knowledge Based systems supporting the design of configurable sports products

The potential impacts include:
• Reduction of the environmental footprint in the production of sport goods
• Competitive, flexible and cost efficient production of high volume, low budget products made in Europe
• New business opportunities for the EU industry - the innovative material/processing technologies can be easily transferred to other products and other industries
• Instant reaction to short term consumer needs (qualitative and quantitative)
• Introduction of collaborative innovation and co-design strategies in the production of sports goods.

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