Foundries provide NFL with a safer alternative for facemasks!
The Founder of Zuti Facemasks for the NFL, John Pizzuti was trying to create a new design but coming across issues doing it the same way he has from the start. When creating the facemasks, they would use a conventional method of welding quarter inch cold rolled steel but was coming across issues when trying the new designs. These conventional methods wouldn’t allow him to form the designs he wanted so he had to brainstorm new ideas to solve his issue.
Knowing he had to come up with an answer he turned to his mother for help. They sat and talked it out until his mother came up with the idea to changed the manufacturing method. Knowing there were other ways to shape steel, they turned to investment casting. Based in Birmingham MI, John turned to the internet to find a local facility to help him with his issues.
In Fall of 2014 John came across a small 20 employee run caster in Bay City, MI, Acra Cast. They started working together intensively to come up with a new facemask design to change the old way of doing things. While in production of the new designs for the facemasks they came to discover that the masks were not only easier to make this way, look nicer but are also safer.
Knowing that there would be a lot of development to come along in getting the casting designs they are looking for, the foundry turned to an engineering company in Saginaw, MI that performed some finite element analysis work for Acra Casting in the past. After the prototype was finished, the diameter was trimmed and other modifications made to achieve specifications, the mask weighed between 1 and 1.25 lbs and measures 9 x 7 x 6 in.
Showing the durability of the masks, they were pulled apart, pushed together and bent to show flexibility and toughness. They don’t snap or shatter and most crucially they dissipate energy more efficiently than traditional mask welding lowering concussions and making football safer. With it being one solid piece of metal and not many pieces welded together, it allows for the energy of the impact to travel longer though the mask it self reducing the force when it reached the head of the player because it is taking more time to to reach the helmet.
To test impact insurance, they conducted drop tests from 12-15 ft high to really test how well they work.On most every drop the investment cast mask scored 25-30 percent lower on the severity index compared to the traditional ways. With all the tests showing durability and safer results, they are seeing step towards action on the field. They have handed some out to the NFL and college teams for real life testing.If everything goes according to plan, this may change the way masks are made in the future.
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