For TRACKTICKS GmbH from Frankfurt am Main, we had the privilege of (co-)developing and manufacturing the housing of a special GPS tracker for soccer players. In the meantime, the GPS tracker for analyzing individual fitness data is used by more than 1,400 soccer teams - from amateur clubs to renowned Bundesliga clubs to soccer schools of international top clubs.
Find out in our case study what TRACKTICKS is, how the collaboration with Solidtec came about, what challenges we faced in plastic injection molding and what role rapid tooling played.
TRACKTICKS is a GPS tracker specially developed for soccer players to analyze performance data of individual players and the entire team. TRACKTICKS records athletic data such as routes, reaction times and accelerations as well as the number and duration of ball contacts. A sound sensor is built in for optimal measurement results.
Athletic values are available for players to analyze and optimize their own performance. How intense was the exertion? How long were sprints, how good was the positional play? Where are improvements over the last training session visible?
Coaches use the fitness data from TRACKTICKS for innovative training options. How was the team set up? How high was the load intensity of individual players? Who is better suited in which situation?
The data is retrieved via app on the smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. The next step is to analyze the fitness data, which is presented in a graphically appealing and easy-to-understand manner.
The player wears the GPS tracker on a waist belt. Similar to a running belt, it is absolutely inconspicuous and does not interfere with either training or play. Maximum freedom of movement is thus guaranteed.
All GPS trackers are stored in a handy team box and charged at the same time. During a training session or game, the box stands on a specific position on the edge of the field, locates the trackers of all players and records exact data for cluster analysis.
After the analysis via app on the smartphone, tablet or PC, optimization potentials are determined: Why did the team only come through the right side? Which spaces were not used? Who was underperforming? Which lineup would be better suited?
In this way, optimization potential for the entire team can be identified and implemented.
We faced several challenges in the implementation of TRACKTICKS. After all, a device worn close to the body must be able to withstand quite a bit in such a physical sport.
The requirements for the plastic housing of the GPS tracker included the following:
- Ergonomic, small and lightweight
- Sweat, rain and shock resistant
- 0.4 mm thin spot in the housing for a small light emitting diode to check if the tracker is switched on
Solidtec was already involved in the development process of TRACKTICKS. After a design-for-manufacturing analysis, it was time to coordinate with the product designers on how to build components in a tool so that they could be produced in small series in original material.
The choice of material was translucent plastic with a high proportion of smoked glass. The housing was realized as a modular system with 4 components made of hard and soft plastics.
It consists of:
- PC (outside)
- PC/ABS (outside)
- TPE (inside) for power button and joint seal as soft parts
The production of the components was not feasible by means of 3D printing. This is where the advantages of rapid tooling came into play. After the creation of the "production-ready" product, a successful field test with 1,000 pieces began. Plastic parts in small series are also possible with aluminum tools.
The innovative measurement and optimization possibilities with the TRACKTICKS GPS tracker have been able to inspire numerous soccer clubs - from the district league to the Bundesliga. Already more than 1,400 soccer clubs use TRACKTICKS to evaluate and improve their performance and potential.
With 14 trackers per team box (11 for the team, 3 as reserve), this means that Solidtec has already produced 20,000 plastic housings for the GPS tracker - and the trend is rising.
Are you curious about what other possibilities we can realize in plastic construction with Rapid Tooling? Please contact us!