Manufacturing custom Orthopaedic and Podiatric Insoles by CNC machiningLFT - Last Foot Technology in the Netherlands is specialized in foot related products and services. Their main specialism is Individual Insoles: custom made correcting insoles: soles to be worn inside the shoe, capable of correcting many foot related problems (Orthopaedics, Podiatry, Shoe shops etc). LFT has extensive facilities to create these soles, and offers custom manufacturing as a service to foot specialists under the name OrthoPodoLab (r).
The OrthoPodoLab service uses several modules that LFT have developed: OrthoPodoScan, OrthoPodoCad and OrthoPodoCam. These modules can also be bought by foot specialists (podologists) for in-house use.
In order to explain the OrthoPodoLab system, it is best to first show the "traditional" method of manufacturing these soles.
Faxing a blueprint - 'Library' of elements - Applying elements - Finishing the sole
Finishing, detail - The resulting sole
The 'traditional' method. As the correction soles by definition have to be in full 3D, supporting the foot only where needed, it is surprising that the design is made on a 2D basis. The client stands on a piece of carbon paper to make a 'blueprint' of his feet. The podologist then makes drawings and notes on the blueprint to indicate the corrections needed.
Manufacturing is done by applying foam parts from a 'Library' of standard elements on a thin leather base. Of course conform the podologist's design on paper. A shoe-maker's grinder is used to smoothen the transitions between the elements, and after smoothing a thin piece of leather is applied on top.
The flatbed scanner - OrtoPodoScan - OrthoPodoCAD - DeskProto is integrated
Running the toolpaths - Milling a pair of soles
The CAD/CAM method. The new method for designing and manufacturing the inlay soles closely follows the conventional method. This is important as it makes acceptance of a new method much easier.
Again a 2D picture is used as a basis, this time created by the client standing on a flatbed scanner barefoot. The OrthoPodoScan software allows the podologist to add drawings and notes like he used to do on paper.
Next, the OrthoPodoCad application offers the same library of elements, however now all digital. They can be positioned, edited, combined, smoothened, etc. The resulting sole then is automatically sent to DeskProto to have the toolpaths calculated.
The milling is done in one block of foam: the different colors shown in the picture indicate different foam densities used in this one block, giving more or less support where needed. In this process too, a piece a thin leather is glued on top for a perfect result.
The OrthoPodoLab production facilities, showing three OrthoPodoCam milling machines
LFT offers a complete range of products and services, for medical branches, sport retail and shoe retail.