With traditional production processes, podiatrists and hospitals face many hindrances. Manufacturing medical orthotics require significant labor and skill to produce the high-quality output prescribed by the podiatrist. 3D-printed custom insoles can solve this issue while alleviating the existing foot issues. Nearly 72% of people suffer from aches and pains on their feet. Custom insoles can be a boon to them.
If you’re running a footwear business, you may have heard the foot issues from your customer. They’re looking for a solution. What if you provide the same to them? Yes, you can do it. Providing your customers custom insoles will not only alleviate their pain, but you can turn your footwear business into a perpetual profit center.
Orthotics Market And Driving Growth
By 2025, 3D printed medical products are expected to reach $3.5 billion- a significant growth from 2016. Also, Foot Orthotic Insoles play a pivotal part in global development.
Image Source: Zeal 3D
The projection shows the growth by 2023, which is expected to be $4.58 billion. CAGR rate varies from 6.27% to 17.7% between 2017 and 2024.
According to a podiatrist, “Custom insoles are the best and available remedy to cure the foot issues. On that note, 3D printing footwear products are helping the entire footwear industry with its low cost and superior performance.”
Procedure To Make 3D Printed Custom Insoles
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3D printed custom insoles ensure better fit within shorter turnaround times. Also, it produces a higher yield with greater labor productivity. On top of that, podiatrists can implement their treatment accordingly with a 3D-printed custom insole. Let’s take a look at the process of making 3D-printed insoles.
Capturing foot shape
There are three common ways to capture foot shapes.
- Impression box– This method includes the foot and phenolic foam. One must press their foot down into the phenolic foam to create a negative model. This can be taken in either standing or sitting position.
- Casting- is done by non-weight bearing, and the foot is manipulated to the desired position. It’s done for the orthosis shell. It’s a negative model which needs to be filled with liquid plaster of Paris. It is used to create a positive model.
- 3D scanning– This method entails nonweight bearing. The clinician may use a sulcus stick to manipulate the forefoot alignment.
Benefits Of 3D Printing for Custom Insoles
3D printing can bring you a bunch of benefits for your footwear business. Here you go-
- Accuracy– 3D printed custom orthotics are more accurate than the traditional printed orthotic devices. It eliminates the manual steps during production to achieve the required accuracy.
- Flexibility– In a single batch, 3D printers can directly print custom orthotic products. These products can be rigid or semi-rigid, which can be helpful for children and adults.
- Speed– 3D printing eliminates processes like grinding, polishing, gluing, etc. Everything can be done within a day, from patient foot scanning to printing the custom medical orthotic device.
Materials Used to Make Custom Insoles
Nylon, EVA, and plastic are the base materials used to make custom insoles.
- Nylon – is used in 3D printing for its excellent properties like robustness and flexibility. With 3D printing, the insole may have different thicknesses at different sections.
- Plastic – It is made of polypropylene-based plastics like copolymer. It comes in various thicknesses.
- EVA – It’s a rubber-based material that comes in various densities, high and medium.