3D Printing

British RP Firm to Produce Made-to-Measure Insoles for National Health Service

Some 3D printing advocates argue that the technology will revolutionize the marketplace, pushing the ability to customize goods to the level of true personalization. We’ll be able to scan our bodies for all sorts of data and then order products specifically tailored to our unique characteristics. UK-based FDM Digital Solutions is one company that is doing its part to usher in the personalization revolution by producing made-to-measure insoles for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). 

FDM Solutions Team
FDM Digital Solution’s James Saunders, left, and Graeme Bond, right, with Paul Taberner of Enterprise Ventures and Lancashire Cllr Niki Penney

FDM has made itself known through the manufacturing of aerospace, engineering, automotive and motor sports components. Now, funded by a £860,000 equity investment from the North West Fund for Venture Capital, a European Union-backed firm, and Rosebud Fund of Lancashire, the company will develop a process for personalized insoles. The company has teamed up with the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Salford so that hospitals will be able to scan the feet of patients and email them to FDM Digital Solutions for the delivery of the insoles within 48 hours. For the development of the product supply chain, the company has also received almost £1 million through grants awarded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

James Saunders, one of FDM Digital Solution’s co-founders, explained how the funding would benefit the National Health Service, saying, “This new system could improve quality and reduce consultants’ time. It’s great that Rosebud and The North West Fund for Venture Capital have seen its potential and are backing our vision. 3D printing could transform supply chains in the NHS and other industries. We will become the leading centre of excellence for this new technology in the North West.

Doug Stellman at Enterprise Ventures, the firm behind both the Rosebud Fund and the North West Fund, explained how 3D printing could benefit patients with foot problems: “3D printing allows a radically different approach to manufacturing as can be seen from the healthy order flow being generated from their existing customer base. The technology that FDM is now proposing for orthotics allows the shape and properties of the materials be varied to match the patient’s exact needs, as well as pioneering a new lean supply chain model which can be applied throughout the NHS.

Source: The Business Desk