Nanyang Technological University has set up an international consortium to develop innovative materials and process for sports products.
Besides NTU's Institute for Sports Research (ISR), the four founding members are all big industry players: advanced materials giant Arkema (France); textile and composite company Chomarat (France); world's top tennis racquet maker Babolat (France); and bicycle manufacturer Topkey (Taiwan).
The new consortium, known as the Innovative Composites for Sports Products (I-Comp Sports), will benefit from ISR's research and testing facilities housed at NTU's School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. It will also leverage ISR's strong industry links, including NTU's plans to invest S$3 million in specialised machinery for manufacturing composite materials using an advanced method known as automated fibre placement.
The consortium will jointly develop new carbon composites materials, parts design and manufacturing technology for sports products such as racquets and bicycle frames.
NTU Provost Prof Freddy Boey said the I-Comp Sports consortium will drive composite materials research, in line with the university's ambitions in sports technology research and innovation.
"NTU's top scientific talents will partner the industry's leading engineers to develop novel high-tech sports equipment, footwear and apparels. Such application-driven research will contribute to the growing local sports scene and help create a new business sector for Singapore."
The joint research in composites will benefit not only the sports product industry, but also industries such as aerospace, renewable energy, and materials engineering.
"The fact that we have four prestigious founding partners in I-Comp Sports shows their confidence in NTU's track record in developing innovative solutions for industry applications," said ISR Director Pascal Joubert des Ouches.
ISR's first product made its debut at the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014. ISR had worked with the famous French manufacturer of skiing equipment, Skis Rossignol, to develop their new "INFINI" range of dynamic compression garments for cross country skiing.
Strong industry links
Apart from collaborating with multinational companies, which includes TaylorMade-Adidas, Sumitomo Rubber Industry (Dunlop/Srixon), Quiksilver and Russian largest sport retailer Sportmaster, ISR is also partnering international sports federations.
Together with International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), ISR engineered a unique prototype machine to test the bounce of table tennis racquets to ensure they meet competition standards. At the same time, ISR is also working with the Badminton World Federation on equipment especially in shuttlecock development.
Locally, the research institute has partnered Dou Yee Enterprises in flexible heating systems for sports garments, capitalising on NTU's knowledge and expertise in making printable flexible batteries. ISR has also partnered with Bronx Creative Design Centre in innovative sports footwear technologies and material sciences from NTU.
ISR has been focusing on sports equipment research and innovation with two goals in mind - to train manpower capability through postgraduate students; and to offer a unique interdisciplinary research and technology platform that will attract the international sports industry and its economy into Singapore.
Since its founding in 2011, ISR has secured over S$5.5 million in research funding and generated revenue of over S$1 million. The institute, which will have 80 researchers and staff by end of this year, is funded by the Economic Development Board and NTU. It currently has 26 research and development projects completed or ongoing with its 15 sports industry partners, in addition to its 10 university research projects and 32 PhD students.
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About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes - the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering - and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.
Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore's science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore's medical district.
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