A Lancashire company which is pioneering the use of 3D printing to produce made-to-measure insoles for the NHS has secured a £860,000 investment from The North West Fund for Venture Capital and Lancashire’s Rosebud Fund.
Using the system being developed by FDM Digital Solutions, hospitals will be able to scan a patient’s foot shape and email it to the company, which will then print and deliver insoles to the exact specification. The process will replace the traditional hand-made techniques and could change the way the NHS buys orthotics and other products.
FDM, together with and its partners East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Salford University, have already won grants totaling almost £1m from the Technology Strategy Board and EPSRC to help them develop the supply chain. This funding will enable the company to invest in 3D technology to allow it to fulfill future orders.
Using 3D printing – or additive manufacturing – objects are created layer by layer to replicate an exact design.