Sports technology company GuardLab Inc. has teamed up with hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer Hockey to bring to market a new line of 3D printed mouthguards. The protective gear, produced using 3D scanning and printing, will become available this month under the Bauer APEX and APEX Lite Mouthguard product series.
Ice hockey is a brutal sport, so it makes sense that players are made to wear some of the most elaborate protective equipment in the sporting world. Careening at high speeds on ice carrying sticks, players are layered up, wearing shoulder pads, neck guards, shin pads, jockstraps, gloves and helmets. Today, nearly all professional hockey players also take to the ice with mouthguards, which can prevent damage to the jaw and teeth. (If you thought getting a ball to the face was bad, imagine a rock-hard puck travelling at over 100 km/h!)
Said to be some of the most precisely fitting mouthguards on the market, The APEX and APEX Lite products feature a patent-pending design developed by GuardLab specifically for Bauer Hockey, which has specialized in hockey equipment since 1927. The new 3D printed products were informed by data taken from the mouths of thousands of athletes and draw inspiration from GuardLab’s existing custom-fit mouthguards. Features derived from the latter include ergonomically tapered top edges and a pre-indented bite pattern.
“Bauer Hockey believes that all athletes—especially hockey players—should always wear a mouthguard, even if not mandated by their teams or leagues, to protect their teeth and minimize injuries,” commented Ed Kinnaly, CEO of Bauer Hockey. “Bauer looked at several alternatives, concluding that GuardLab produces the best, most comfortable and form-fitting mouthguards.
“We believe GuardLab mouthguards are unlike any other product on the market—the innovation, comfort and 3D technology blends well with our brand vision. We are excited to launch our new line of APEX mouthguards in retail stores and to utilize GuardLab’s 3D digital scanning technology to fit our Bauer Athletes and select teams with GuardLab’s custom-fitted neuromuscular ARC PRO mouthguards.”
The 3D printed mouthguards will be launched in select stores across the U.S. and Canada and will come in a range of colors, sizes and helmet tether options. The Bauer APEX and APEX Lite mouthguards are distinguished by thickness: at 2.5 mm in thickness, the Lite version is one of the thinnest mouthguards on the market. At certain retail locations, hockey teams can get their mouthguards branded with their team logos.
“We are thrilled to team with Bauer, a world-class brand synonymous with high quality, performance and protection,” said GuardLab’s Chairman, Tefft Smith. “Our patented mouthguards are the perfect addition to Bauer’s hockey equipment line. It’s a privilege to collaborate with them to better serve the hockey community.”
3D printing is increasingly being explored for the development and production of new, cutting-edge protective sporting gear. Perhaps most famously, Carbon and Riddell teamed up to manufacture custom 3D printed helmet liners for Riddell’s SpeedFlex Precision Diamond helmet.