Canadian Manufacturing

Mosaic Manufacturing launches partnership with Athletic Knit for 3D printing applications

High scale automated 3D printing’s impact on the future of manufacturing.

March 30, 2021  by CM Staff

The Array Product ecosystem

TORONTO — On Mar. 30, Mosaic Manufacturing launched its Array Product ecosystem to enable 3D printing for scaled manufacturing applications. Alongside the announcement, they also announced a partnership to work with Athletic Knit to enable them to produce hundreds of thousands of custom apparel components using 3D printing.

Athletic Knit is one of North America’s largest jersey manufacturers, creating custom apparel for hundreds of thousands of athletes every year. In business since 1962, Athletic Knit has primarily produced their product lines in Canada.

Due to increases in customer demand and company growth, Athletic Knit began outsourcing portions of their supply chain overseas. This strategic decision was done in order to allow throughput to increase, while maintaining their cost base. One unfortunate output of this shift was an increase in lead time, increasing by over 4 weeks for products sourced from overseas.

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As a result, Athletic Knit began investigating non-traditional methods and landed on 3D printing as a potential solution.

For Athletic Knit, three priorities stood out in their decision to adopt 3D printing:

  • Product Customization/Personalization
  • Quick Turnaround Time
  • Local Production

Athletic Knit got in touch with the team at Mosaic to learn about how Athletic Knit could adopt Mosaic’s Palette technology to enable the printing of custom, coloured jersey components using Mosaic’s Palette technology.

“The team at Athletic Knit’s vision for how 3D printing can play a role in their supply chain has created an entirely new application for 3D printing in manufacturing, and the apparel industry as a whole.” said Mitch Debora, CEO of Mosaic Manufacturing.

Leaning on the Array ecosystem for customized, digital production meant that Athletic Knit was able to scale their throughput internally to meet demand. This additional scale meant decreased lead times, stable product costs, and predictable, reliable throughput.

To date, 3D printing has been incredibly successful in applications with low volumes and high part volumes: Prototyping, Aerospace, Jewelry, Dental, Automotive. 3D printing has struggled when volumes increase, as the cost of 3D printed output is linear. On a per part basis, it costs the same to print 10 of something as it does to print 10,000 of something. In manufacturing, these costs decrease exponentially at the beginning, and level off.

However, with technology like the Array Product ecosystem, the infrastructure for mass customization and mass personalization is now possible. With the ability to scale throughput, hit cost targets, and allow personalization through geometry, material properties and colour selection – manufacturers are able to harness the benefits of a traditionally low scale technology in a mass manufacturing environment.