Arrival of a new tool – the digital workshop for orthotics and prosthetics
Orthopaedic technicians are often inventors who want to be part of the development process and give the highest possible degree of personal attention to the customer’s needs: growing competition coupled with rising pressure from costs and constraints on time frequently make it difficult to assure this measure of individuality. At the same time, knowledgeable users insist on tailored solutions to suit their own tastes, no longer willing to hide his/her prosthesis from view, for example, and set on fostering a more self-confident relationship with their particular aid.
The fast-paced development in industrial 3D printing and digitalisation now offer new solutions that enable every orthopaedic technician to perform customised and yet digital fabrication. The Munich-based medical engineering company Mecuris, for example, presented a form of “digital workbench”, which meaningfully enhances the work of a technician. The intuitive design enables this digital tool to be used with no previous experience of 3D technology. To achieve this, Mecuris, as a service provider, translates the traditional orthopaedic craft into digital workflows and patient-specific products that can be manufactured using industrial 3D printing.
On its online platform, the company puts these workflows at the disposal of the technician so that he/she can configure customised orthotics and prosthetics. In doing so, the individual steps are kept as straightforward as possible and are partly automated in some areas. This platform is organised into two production units or workshops, one for orthotics and one for prosthetics.
In the orthotics workshop – new since April 2020 – a technician can use the digital procedures and tools according to his/her requirements either in partial steps or as a complete process. The latter ends with the production of a customised 3D-printed orthosis.
In the prosthetics workshop, on the other hand, workshops are available for creating patient-specific prosthetic feet and made-to-measure prosthetics covers.
The individual modules of the digital services – the software solutions, the printing operation, and the certified final products – are constantly being refined as well as adjusted to suit the changing market circumstances, such as the EU Medical Device Regulation.