Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008 4:00 AM

BURLINGTON, Mass., USA - The world's leading sports architecture firm is using Z Corporation 3D printing technology to improve the fan experience and esthetic appeal of the world's most stunning athletic venues.

HOK Sport's global client list includes 24 Major League Baseball franchises, 30 NFL franchises, 80 professional and civic arena clients, 40 soccer and rugby teams, and 120 colleges and universities.

The company recently purchased the Spectrum Z™510 multicolor 3D printer. "3D printing architectural models with the ZPrinter helps our clients better appreciate the designs we propose, and the models inject a ‘wow' factor into our presentations," said Peter Friederich, director of HOK Sport's state-of-the-industry model shop. "Our ability to print intricate, high-resolution 3D models on demand throughout a project is also making us better at our core passion and mission - creating the world's most exhilarating sports environments."

The speed of the Spectrum Z510 provides HOK Sport with architectural models within hours rather than the weeks required by traditional techniques like woodworking, metal working, cardboard assembly and laser cutting. This enables the firm's designers and architects, working with clients, to review and revise their designs more quickly than ever, resulting in final designs that delight owners, athletes and fans.

ZPrinting also trumps photographs and renderings. "A graphical rendering, no matter how beautiful, is still a 2D thing with one perspective," said Friederich. "A 3D model presents both the client and architect with all possible views instantaneously and permits superior comprehension of the concepts at hand."

The company purchased the Spectrum Z510 in September and has used it in designs for dozens of projects, including the Kansas City Royals' ballpark renovation (Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo., scheduled to open 2010), the Estadio de Fútbol Monterrey soccer stadium in Mexico (scheduled to open 2011) and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team's new arena (scheduled to open 2010).

Friederich says the ZPrinter's productivity impact is equivalent to adding one or two full-time employees working every day around the clock in his eight-person model shop. The 3D printer also creates intricate shapes such as compound radii that would be untenable to create in any other medium. The ZPrinter can create these shapes because it transforms 3D data directly into physical objects.

Friederich's team imports Autodesk® 3ds Max®, Rhinoceros® and Google™ SketchUp® software files into SolidWorks® 3D mechanical CAD software. The user hits "ZPrint" in his ZPrint™ software and in a few hours has the part in his hands. This efficiency has enabled architects to fully consider more design options than ever. In the past two months, for example, the model shop has 3D printed 15 different designs for iconic super-columns that will support a stadium's retractable roof - impossible without the 3D printer.

"Speaking conservatively, I'd say we've increased production by at least 10 percent," Friederich estimated. "We can take in more work and produce more work on time within budget on the date that it's due."

HOK Sport selected the Spectrum Z510 after a competitive review because of its affordability, easy set up, local support and simplicity. "I have talented people who are traditionalists by heart who generally prefer to create models by hand, but they have found it very easy to pick up 3D printing with the ZPrinter and have embraced it enthusiastically."

About HOK Sport

As the world's leading sports architecture firm, HOK Sport's tradition of innovation has transformed the way people have experienced sporting events for nearly 25 years. For more information and a list of clients, visit www.hoksport.com.

About Z Corporation

Z Corporation makes products that enable users to capture, edit, and print 3D data with unprecedented speed, ease, versatility and affordability. These products include the world's fastest high-definition 3D printers — machines that produce physical 3D models from digital data in full color - and uniquely portable 3D scanners - handheld machines that digitize 3D surfaces in real time. Z Corp. technology is enabling a wide range of applications in manufacturing, architecture, civil engineering, reverse engineering, geographic information systems (GIS), medicine and entertainment. For the latest news and information from Z Corp., visit www.zcorp.com.

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