Today we are going to take a look at a company using 3D printing to manufacture customized orthotic devices. iOrthotics makes custom insoles for podiatrists around the world. Their goal is to create a better, more scalable solution for their clients through digital manufacturing.
Traditionally, iOrthotics’ method for creating an insole required a mold. This involved casting the patient’s foot in plaster. This could be uncomfortable for the patient and would often lead to inaccurate measurements as the casts were taken in a non-weight-bearing position. Once a mold was complete, orthotics were made through traditional methods that required skilled labor and finishing. These methods often needed multiple fittings to achieve a satisfactory result. But perhaps the biggest downside was the waste from these processes.
In order to keep up with increasing demand and to develop a competitive advantage, iOrthotics formulated a digital workflow by adopting 3D scanning and the HP Jet Fusion 4200.
The first step was to enable 3D scanning thereby eliminating the need for a mold. Advancements in 3D scanning enabled more exact measurements and the foot could be measured in a more organic position. With the CAD file ready, iOrthotics could then use their Jet Fusion 4200 to print the orthotics.
Straight away, they found that HP’s materials yielded a quality of product superior to other methods. The enhanced productivity of their Jet Fusion 4200 roughly tripled their output, going from 30 orthotics per day to 90. As demand increases, they can add more capacity and even additional facilities to scale their business.
Design freedom is another core benefit of this additive process. Orthotics are more flexible and forgiving, leading to positive outcomes for the end users. iOrthotics can also be customized by branding each orthotic to the clinic placing the order.
A stunning fact of the orthotics industry is that traditional techniques typically waste 90% or more of the material required to make a finished product. With the Jet Fusion’s unique powder reusability, a minimum % of the material is wasted.
According to iOrthotic’s Chief Information Officer, Dean Hartlry: The ability to make customized parts on a large scale creates a paradigm shift. All industries will go through change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but perhaps none as dramatically as the manufacturing sector. iOrthotics has transformed itself to take advantage of this technological shift made possible additive manufacturing.”
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