Who- Heelys, the skate-shoes with a hidden wheel
What- Nano, an inline footboard that bridges a gap between traditional Heelys and skateboards, aiming to retain the utility of the former, while seizing the toughness and customizability of the latter.
Needs- The Nano needed a material tough enough to endure the hammer they would inevitably get. To appeal to their market, the Nano features swappable lenticular inserts and offer special editions with LED wheels. These artistic qualities require a material that can maintain its clarity over an extended period of time.
“We want something that can be clear, or tinted, but still strong and durable,” says Ryan Wills, director of innovation for Heelys. “We need a material that can withstand the impact and rigors of daily use with a reasonable level of wear.”
Wills also needed a material with excellent mechanical strength that can be injection molded easily and was BPA free.
Materials- All-Plastics Molding, Inc., of Addison, Texas, recommended Tritan, the BPA free alternative to polycarbonate that’s impact-resistant and durable, for the job.
“Tritan is exactly what I was looking for,” says Wills. He adds “The whole thing with wheels in and graphic and axles weighs slightly less three pounds. The average wall thickness of the board is about 3.5 millimeters. The chassis is in two pieces with a tongue and groove around the outside and it’s screwed together with nine stainless steel screws.”
Success- The design of the Nano has already attracted international attention, winning a 2011 iF (International Forum) product design award.