Hockey Robotics pioneered the concept of robotic testing for the hockey industry. It specializes in hockey stick design, performance, and durability testing using an advanced hockey stick testing robot. Hockey sticks most often break during a slap shot; therefore the company’s goal was to produce a robot capable of properly mimicking the professional hockey slap shot. The Hockey Robotics team, with support from industry partnerships, manufactured the SlapShot XT, a hockey stick robot capable of delivering a slap shot at speed up to 110 mph. Hockey stick manufacturers are now using the robot to test their designs in a highly repeatable and controlled manner, providing evaluation data never before available.
The SlapShot XT is the first robot capable of executing a slap shot like a professional hockey player. The robot’s integrated advanced electronics and software allows the gathering of data never seen before, enabling even more detailed analysis of the results to support further refinements in hockey stick design. The SlapShot XT is bringing about revolutionary changes in the way hockey sticks are developed.
MapleSim played a critical role in the design and development of the SlapShot XT. The software allowed Hockey Robotics to efficiently and accurately simulate the coupled dynamic electrical and mechanical behavior of the equipment. MapleSim enabled the concurrent study of the flexible body deformation and rigid body motion of the machines, allowed them to quickly prototype the designs, and investigate the coupled motion of the mechanisms easily. A four-bar mechanism was synthesized to match the hockey player’s motion, and subsequent dynamic and stress analyses were used to develop and confirm the performance of the resulting robot design. A flywheel maintained the stick’s momentum during contact with the ice, and the robotic hands allowed the stick to bend about two axes, storing and releasing strain energy throughout the shot. The final design was evaluated using NX 6.0 from Siemens PLM Software and finite element models of the components.
The robot provides repeatable, unbiased test data on the performance and durability of hockey sticks. According to Dr. John McPhee, chief scientist at Hockey Robotics, “MapleSim allows us to perform engineering analysis that was previously too challenging and computationally intensive for our industry to undertake.”
Future projects at Hockey Robotics involve using MapleSim to develop as rapid prototyping tool that they believe has the potential to permanently change the way that hockey sticks are designed and evaluated. They expect that their new solutions will provide shorter development cycles and substantial reductions in development costs for hockey equipment manufacturers.