Callaway Golf Company, Carlsbad, California, USA, a leading manufacturer of golf clubs and equipment, has signed a consultancy agreement with GE Additive’s AddWorks team to help it harness the potential of Additive Manufacturing. The first project resulting from the agreement is a redesigned Odyssey R-Ball Prototype putter head.
As part of its product innovation strategy, Callaway uses a range of manufacturing techniques to produce clubs and equipment that reflect the different aesthetic and acoustic tastes of professional and amateur golfers in different world regions. The reworked Odyssey R-Ball Prototype putter was originally developed as a tour-preferred model in Japan, and its design offers an acoustic signature unique to that local market. Callaway’s goal was to see how Additive Manufacturing could change that acoustic signature, while retaining the preferred shape and performance.
For this putter head, it was found that the best way to optimise acoustics was to add a complex geometry that would have made it difficult to produce by conventional casting methods. GE Additive’s Addworks engineering consultants worked with Callaway’s design and engineering teams to apply Additive Manufacturing design practices and build upon the already-proven design. The team refined existing designs to ensure all features were self-supported or easily supported during the AM build, and topology optimisation was used in conjunction with acoustical mapping to create the optimal design.
The AddWorks team has equipped Callaway with knowledge on additive processes and provided assistance on materials selection, along with developing parameters and testing protocols to achieve desired material properties. It has also helped Callaway discover and identify other parts that are potentially suitable for production in the future.
“Additive Manufacturing is a new tool which is quickly going beyond the aspirational phase, and into the functionalisation phase of the technology. Callaway needs to learn how to use this tool well, because it is inevitable that 3D printing of production parts is going to happen – it is the production method of the future,” stated Brad Rice, Director – R&D, Advanced Engineering at Callaway.
“We chose to work with GE Additive to partner with experts that represent best-in-class within the industry. GE Additive brings the total package to the table, offering end-to-end solutions; from printing machinery, raw materials, consultancy and build software,” he added.
“In terms of innovation and technology leadership in their sector, Callaway stands head and shoulders above the rest. This project has allowed us to add value to Callaway’s business goals,” commented Chris Schuppe, General Manager, AddWorks, GE Additive. “We’re also taking away many new learnings from our first project together, especially around aesthetics. We have also used additive technology to create an acoustic map, which is certainly a first for us. We’re looking forward to driving more successful projects with Callaway, as they continue their additive journey,” he added.