Client-focused orthotics and prosthetics 3D print service
Earlier this year we launched a print service with the aim of printing top-quality orthopedic and prosthetic products for patients with special needs. There are primary two reasons for starting the service. The first is to try before buying – we want to give you the opportunity to get a printed version of your own design before you invest in the solution. The second reason is to offer a print service to customers who don’t want to invest in their own production equipment.
The demand for the service turned out to be increasing surprisingly fast and steady. Today we have two people working full time in our print service taking care of customer orders and making sure we are producing at a high quality. In this article, we will take you behind the scenes.
The people behind the print service
We walk into the printing room with Iryna, who has been a Print Service Operator at the company since September. She was hired due to the increasing demand for the service. On the right side of the room, three SeatMakers are relentlessly transforming thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) into cushions layer by layer. On the left InsoleMakers are “spitting out” seamless insoles ready to be placed in the shoes of the patients. In the CorsetMaker a beautiful brace is just ready for some post-processing to make sure the edges are smooth and comfortable for the user.
We talk with Iryna while she is working on the corset.
Iryna didn’t have experience in 3D printing before but has always been fascinated by its potential. She has mastered operating the print service after only a few weeks of training. This also shows that using our 3D printers can be easily learned without previous experience, just with short training.
“What excites me the most about working here is the unique combination of technology and healthcare. The ability to create custom orthopedic applications using 3D printing is not only cutting-edge but also has a direct and positive impact on individuals.” – she says.
Besides printing and post-processing, Iryna takes care of shipping as well and makes sure that the products arrive on time and in perfect condition.
I also got to know that the printers I see in the room are not all the printers, there are more that can be set anytime in production if needed. That is how the print service is flexibly scalable according to demand.
“What excites me the most about working here is the unique combination of technology and healthcare. The ability to create custom orthopedic applications using 3D printing is not only cutting-edge but also has a direct and positive impact on individuals.” – Iryna
I also interrupt José for a talk, who is busy preparing some corset models for printing. He is a Solutions Engineer and joined Create it REAL five years ago.
“I applied for an internship in 2019, after a random talk about the French derby in the Copenhagen Metro with the founder of the company.”
He started at the company in an organ-printing project, that fit very well his main areas of interest: fluid mechanics and materials.
Today, his main contribution as part of the Solutions Team consists of adding new solutions to our portfolio, with the current platform we have e.g. Embrace CorsetMaker. He is also responsible for the printing service.
José has gained considerable expertise over the years and has a deep understanding of the complexities of 3D printing specifically concerning orthotics and prosthetics. Therefore he is also a great help for customers who have been producing products with traditional methods and are just starting on their digital journey.
Busy print service: Our customers
José is checking a 3D model received from a customer. He wants to make sure that the designs are optimal for 3D printing and provides recommendations for small adjustments if needed. I ask him about our customers that he is in daily contact with.
“We have all types of customers using our print service for insoles, corrective braces, cushions, and seat solutions. Many of them are regular customers, and some ask for parts sporadically. We also have customers who want to try the printers before they buy the complete solution and customers who ask for only a few prints mostly because they produce in small volumes. Some of them also turn to us for CAM consultancy. Furthermore, the print service also serves as a support to sales by providing samples directly to customers and for exhibitions.”
José explains that our customers mostly decide to use the print service because they see one of the following advantages: cost, expertise, materials, quality assurance, and overall efficiency. They also appreciate that they have direct access to 3D printing expertise.
I ask him what challenges he sees in doing business with 3D printing:
“The main challenge in doing business using this technology relies on the justification of the cost/benefit. You really need to understand what are the advantages and benefits you can get with this technology. That’s the key.” – says José.
Try before you buy
Until now you have been producing braces from plasters, carving cushions out of dusty foam blocks, and gluing different materials together layer by layer to achieve different hardnesses in insoles?
Are you ready to forget about the loads of waste and take on the digital journey towards a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly production method?
Changing the workflow to a digital method is not easy. Our print service can open the door for the change and can be a good starting point until you decide to buy the solution. Knowing this we provide you some extra support so you can get started smoothly in your digital journey.
Talking to our customers we experience some resistance to digitalising their production method. No wonder, today we are so used to chatbots greeting us whenever we contact any kind of customer service. But this is definitely not the case with our print service. We don’t let digital transformation leave out human expertise. It’s real people helping you, José and Iryna make sure personally that you get outstanding results with our print service.
And to achieve that, they use the same printers that you will get as part of the solution. So in case you decide to invest, you already know what you get.
All these reasons made many of our customers from the orthotics and prosthetics field use a 3D printing service before or instead of investing in their own production equipment.
Like many of our customers, you might also realize that buying your own production equipment is not a question of expertise, but a question of volume. You might be not ready to scale up yet, so you choose to print on demand.
As José said, our customers appreciate the personal contact with us, that they are not forwarded to third parties or served by bots. José and Iryna handle their cases personally.
They use the printers developed by us regularly, and they know them from the inside out. The material used for printing is our own material that is developed to work best with our printers which ensures that only high-quality products come out of our machines.
All these benefits are available to you on an on-demand basis, without any commitment, only paying for the prints that you need and whenever you need them.
Tailored to your needs
What do you get out of this opportunity?
With our orthotics and prosthetics print service, we offer you the possibility of 3D printing customized insoles, seats, and corsets. We print products that are ready for your patients and not prototypes.
We have developed unique features that add enhanced strengths and endurance to your products. Depending on your requirements, we add value to your products with different hardness zones with smooth transitions between them. You will get access to our 3D printing expertise that will ensure high-quality products without you having to worry.
How the print service works
You send your 3D model in .STL file format with specifications about softness and hardness zones within the model.
We review the request and provide a quote and suggestions for modifications if needed to ensure high-quality results. We also provide design guidelines to help you in case you need them.
After that, we print and ship your product as soon as possible.