Home > My Work > Consumer Product Design Project: Ice Skating Boots

Consumer Product Design Project: Ice Skating Boots

 Identify Problem: Figure skates that have been designed unergonomically can cause problems such as back pain, joint problems, ankle sprains, tendonitis, and deformities. 

Define Problem: The problems with the skate occur mainly because of the skate’s weight. The boots are currently created to prevent the foot and ankle from bending, which reduces shock absorption. Flatfooted landing causes a severe jolt to the knees, hips, and spine; the total force of the impact can momentarily spike as 8-10 times the person’s body weight. Getting the toe down significantly earlier than the heel can decrease impact by about 20-30% Common injures. 

Identify Clients: Our target audience would be those that are in the intermediate level or simply casual skaters that want to avoid injury. The probable age group is 10-20, and we are leaning towards the female side, because they generally have weaker bones. Our consumers should have past the introductory level of skating and have decided they want to continue casually. 

If we make our skates with a more flexible base that can be widened periodically to accommodate for skaters that are growing at a quick pace, we can also market the skates as longer lasting. 

 Our audience would also be: 

  • Female
  • Age 10-20                                          
  • Skates at least a couple times a week
  • Responsible (has an issue with missing school for a period of time due to injury)
  • Middle class or lower class
  • Safety conscious

 Needs Assessment: 

  • Medium price range
  • Greater than average lifespan
  • Methods to bend ankle forward/back to improve shock absorption.
  • Removable insoles that can be cleaned.
  • Material reinforcements to prevent the blade from cutting into the shoe.
  • Padding to increase shock absorption.

 Brainstorming: 

  Articulated design (ankle hinge): 

The boot is split into two parts: one being the shoe below the ankle, and one being a housing around the ankle, connected the boot with a rotating hinge on either side of the ankle. 

 Pros: 

  • Provides rigid support to the ankle; prevents (lateral) bending from side to side
  • Allows for easier forward and backward bending of the ankle
  • Takes advantage of the ankle’s natural capabilities for shock absorption.

 Cons: 

  • Requires the manufacture of a separate piece, with a joint to connect them.
  • Two sections will be separately laced.
  • Must consider the strength of the jointed hinge under constant stress.

Orthotics: 

Orthotics made up of Graphite or thin Polypropylene with intrinsic posting and a thin top cover, or subortholene orthotics. Orthotics will be placed inside of the boots, so that it can touch and correct the position of the feet, preventing damage from shock of landings. 

Pros: 

  • Gives less stress to the feet
  • Prevents shaking in the skate
  • Flexible accommodation for ankle

Cons: 

  • Orthotics should be the same size as the skater’s foot size (not flexible in sizing).
  • Not as flexible as it should be in the ankle
  • Adds additional expense to the construction

General Statement of Design Solution: 

Our group has picked the articulated design (ankle hinge) as the design solution of our project, because it is the best design with benefits that outweigh the costs. The design of the skate also appeals to the “high tech” demographic of our target audience. The brand name of the new product will be called “Modrix.” 

 Method of action: 

To reduce shock upon landing from jumps, the design takes advantage of the ankle’s natural bending ability in order to help the skater absorb shock. Not only will the design provide a high degree of flexibility for the ankle to bend forward and back, but still provides the necessary side to side support for stability. 

 Sizing: 

The sizing of the boots will be done according to standard regional sizes, for the ease of the consumer. 

 Fabrication: 

This design does not add much bulk to the skate, which would be awkward for the skater and for construction. Synthetic leather is used on the outside of the boot quarter and the liner is made of nylon sprayed with Microban anti-microbics.

The hinge connecting the upper ankle section and the boot quarter is made of aluminum, which is a strong yet light metal. The parts of the boot touching the hinge have aluminum eyelets, to reduce rotational friction. The upper sole is made of a hard rubber, because it is stiff enough to support the bottom of the boot, but soft enough to provide some padding.

 Cost: 

Ostensibly, this design does not add too much to the cost of a skate; some extra material and an extra die or two would be needed to create the upper ankle section and the boot quarters. 

 Materials List: 

  • Polyurethane synthetic leather
  • Long Fiber Rigid Thermoplastic Polyurethane
  • Low-Density Polyethylene for Substrate
  • Polyurethane Upper Soles
  • Fiberboard
  • Nylon
  • Aluminum

Polyurethane Synthetic Leather for the outer boot quarter, upper ankle section and tongue: 

Synthetic leather made of polyurethane is characterized by high abrasion resistance, flexibility, water vapour permeability and resistance to liquid water. Polyurethane is an efficient energy insulator, and can help keep the athletes’ feet warm in cold conditions. 

Polyurethane Upper Sole 

An inner sole made of polyurethane is low-density and highly abrasion resistant, with excellent long-term mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. Polyurethane soles are resistant to corrosion, can resist heat up to 200°C, and are electrical insulators. Polyurethane soles are also capable of withstanding 1200 Newtons, and can be rated even higher. 

 Thickness of 2.06375 – 3.81cm: 

  • Face Screw Hold (lb): 250
  • Edge Screw Hold (lb): 175
  • Thickness Tolerance (in): +/- 0.127mm

Polyamide (Nylon) for the boot quarter, upper ankle section, and tongue’s liner: 

  • Density:  1.02 to 1.11 (g/cm³)
  • Flexural modulus: 26.9 to 155 MPa

Adhesive (FAS-n-FREE® Adhesive) to glue boot quarter outer and liner, as well as soles together: 

  • Density @ 25°C: 8.5 lb/gal. (1016g/L)
  • Tensile Strength @ 25°C: 200 psi (1379kPa)
  • Adhesion Strength in Shear @ 25°C: 80 psi (552kPa)

 Manufacturing process: 

The polyurethane synthetic leather and the nylon is fed through a cutting machine that stamp out the shape of the boot quarter, the upper ankle section, and the tongue. The boot quarter and the tongue are then sown together, and the combined boot quarter is then shaped by placing it around a last that has the long fibre rigid thermoplastic polyurethane toe cap on it. The bottom flap of the boot quarter is folded in, and then the pre-moulded polyurethane upper-sole is placed under it, with the pre-shaped fibreboard lower-sole placed under that. 

Then a special eyelet machine applies larger eyelets to the holes on the boot quarter and the upper ankle section where the ankle hinge will go. Then the upper ankle section is placed around the boot quarter so that their hinge-holes are aligned, and then a hinge is slotted through each pair of hinge-holes. The hinge is then peened by an orbital riveting machine to form two flanges with flat surfaces on either side of the pair of hinge-holes, preventing it to act as a joint. 

Next the sole and heel plates of the blade are aligned with the boot. The blade is then screwed into the fibreboard using 1.1 cm long pan-head aluminum Phillips screws. Finally, the lower part of the boot is threaded with its laces.

Conclusion: 

This design is the most effective in the long run, because as opposed to a “quick fix” such as a material change or the inclusion of extra padding, this design will effectively address the problem for consumers.

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