Rethink The Rink With Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro Begins Year Two

"Make-a-thon 2019" explores innovation opportunities in player safety equipment

The Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro and Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering hosted their second Make-a-thon, kicking off year two of the "Rethink the Rink" initiative. The trio joined forces last year in this first-of-its kind collaboration to make hockey safer at all levels. As it continues to shoot for a safer game, Rethink the Rink 2019 focuses on a new aspect of hockey innovation - player safety equipment.

"When we started this a year ago, the focus was on redesigning the boards and glass in an attempt to make the game safer for players of all ages," said David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins. "This year’s project focuses on the players’ equipment, and could involve everything from helmets and gloves to shoulder pads to goalie masks."

The Make-a-thon brought together teams of CMU students who presented prototypes at an event at Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

The Make-a-thon brought together diverse teams of CMU engineering students for a weeklong ideation event at the school’s makerspace in mid-March. The students had access to advanced materials and technical expertise from Covestro and explored ways to improve upon protective equipment for player safety. Their challenge was to uncover material solutions to strengthen player protection without inhibiting player performance.

Rethink the Rink 2019 focused innovation around player safety equipment.

"We’re a stronger, more practiced team, having made significant progress since our first Make-a-thon," said Jerry MacCleary, chairman and CEO of Covestro LLC. "We’ve spent the better part of a year transforming those initial ideas and concepts into a next-generation dasher board prototype, which is in production now. There’s a lot of momentum behind this effort, and it will continue to grow as the initiative evolves."

The students designed and developed basic prototypes, which were unveiled during a presentation and awards ceremony March 15. The ceremony took place in the Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

During the Make-a-thon, students had access to advanced materials and technical expertise from Covestro and worked to uncover material solutions to strengthen player protection.

"We now have a literal innovation arena to test the concepts and ideas coming out of Rethink the Rink. It’s a fitting backdrop for a collaboration that is already pushing boundaries and delivering promising results," MacCleary said.

"When students learn to leverage each other’s backgrounds in different disciplines to solve a common challenge, they gain a valuable experience in real-world teamwork," said Jonathan Cagan, interim dean of CMU’s College of Engineering.

"When you add in coaching from the professional experts from Covestro and the Penguins to guide their problem-solving process, it’s a win-win situation. We call that process ’Advanced Collaboration℠.’"


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