December 15, 2020
The manufacturing of foot orthotics or insoles has been an intricate and slow process until recently. With the introduction of 3D-printed insoles based on 3D scans creating a digital flow, new opportunities have opened up and broadened the orthotics horizon. Efficiency, cost and accessibility are examples of how 3D-printing and scanning technology have influenced the product and production of insoles.
Foot orthotics are insoles placed inside the shoe with the purpose to prevent and correct foot and ankle implications. These minor problems can, later on, develop into severe conditions such as pain in the knees and/or lower back. That is why high-quality and tailor-made insole can make a difference. Orthopedic insoles are traditionally made using molds and it is an intricate and slow process of trying to get the perfect fit. A process that includes several steps of finetuning to make sure the orthotic replicates the shape of the foot without fault.
An efficient process
The innovative shift to 3D-printed insoles based on 3D scanning replaces the lengthy process based on molds, with a digital flow. It sets in place a more efficient operation of making personalized orthotics. But how does it work? A 3D scanning of the foot is combined with a pre-defined/designed template of orthotics, then the TwikFit Cloud Software creates a made-to-measure insole that will fit the foot perfectly. This digital sole can be further adjusted if necessary, before being 3D-printed and made ready for the client. By using this method, steps are fewer and the duration of production is significantly shorter which also leads to a more cost-effective process.
The digital workflow does not only ensure the insole to follow the shape of the foot precisely but also decreases the time between order and delivery. With customers increasingly demanding product customization and faster delivery, 3D-printed insoles based on 3D scanning offer the solution.
Accessibility & opportunity
By shortening the production process of making insoles and making it more efficient, selling prices can be lowered. Before the introduction of the digital flow, custom insoles could cost 300 euros or more. This price point prohibits a large share of the potential market to purchase a custom-made insole. With more accessible pricing, more consumers can invest in their physical wellbeing and prevent ailments whilst merchants of orthotics can increase their client base. A win-win for both parties.
And because the digital operation of 3D scanning is user friendly, high-quality foot scans can now also be executed in-store. This advantage leads to more opportunities such as offering consumers a tailor-made solution for other purposes than medical treatment. For example, if a consumer buys running shoes in-store, you could now offer complete comfort by suggesting a 3D-printed insole based on a 3D scan of their feet performed in the shop. It will be like running on custom-made 3D-printed clouds.
To conclude, the new and improved digital flow opens doors for the orthotics industry and expands the product of personalized insoles to retail, and consequently increases the audience.
Time to go digital
Thanks to the thriving technology of 3D-printing, 3D scanning, and the necessary software, foot orthotics or insoles can now be manufactured more efficiently and are more accessible whilst still being of superior quality (among other benefits). The digital flow that has replaced a traditional manual craft, brings new product possibilities and market development that coincides with current trends in consumer behavior. These trends being the demand for product customization, shorter lead time, and expecting more options for consumption. 3D-printed insoles based on 3D scanning fill in those consumer needs and are a good example of product adjustment in order to stay competitive and satisfy customer wishes. In conclusion, if you haven’t already, it is time to go digital.