How does 3D printing change the ORTHOTIC insole supply chain?

For health reasons many people with stunted feet need custom orthotic insoles to ease the discomfort of standing or exercising. The supply chain of traditional orthotic insoles is long, and there are many communication links between users, doctors, and manufacturers. Due to the combination of mechanical and manual manufacturing methods, the insole may need to be adjusted and tried on many times before being delivered to the user.

Using 3D printing to customize orthotic insoles would make all the difference. What’s different about it? Let’s first take a look at what the traditional supply chain for orthotics looks like.

The traditional supply chain for orthotic insoles

How does 3D printing change the ORTHOTIC insole supply chain?

The traditional manufacture of orthotic insoles usually adopts the method of combination of machining and handwork. The manufacturing process requires cork, plastic, leather and other major components that have a certain amount of inventory.

In the traditional model, if you need to customize a pair of orthotic insoles, the user needs to communicate with the doctor, manufacturer several times. Doctors need to leave a user’s foot impression, and then provide the impression and design data to the manufacturer. After the manufacturer receives the information, use the numerical control insole.

3D printing supply chain

How does 3D printing change the ORTHOTIC insole supply chain?

The doctor uses a three-dimensional scan to take data from the user’s foot and then provides the scan data to the designer. The designer models and optimizes the design based on the scan data, allowing the foot data to fit the insole. Design data is submitted to a 3D printer to print out the insole. 3d printers can be located anywhere from a manufacturer’s 3d printer to a hospital’s 3d printer or even near the user.

Users can complete a free scan in a few minutes using a foot scanner. The Soft Gel pad on the scanner accurately captures the 3D shape and pressure points of the foot. The foot scan data will be e-mailed to the client in five minutes. Once the basic foot and health data are available, Ideastep will begin designing insoles for users if they decide they need to order a 3d printed insole. After the design document is completed, the insole is printed by a 3D printer in the store. Printed insoles are available on the day of purchase.

From foot scans to insole design and printing, customers are notified at every step of the process and can even view the insole printing process via a Webcam.

With 3d scanning and 3D printers, the customization process, which used to take weeks to complete, will be reduced to less than a day. With the help of digital technology such as scanners and CAD software, insoles have also become more accurate.

Related Article:

Why do I need to customize orthopedic insoles.

Can orthotic insoles treat o-shaped leg?

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