3D scanning has allowed podiatrists to enhance their capacity to design and manufacture insole orthotics. The process is quite simple:
- Scan the patient’s foot using Solescan Rubra: The scanner generates a 3D representation of the sole of the foot. This object can be viewed, saved to disk, exported as STL/OBJ file or be transferred to Insole Studio.
- Design the orthotic insole using Insole Studio software: This software package allows the user to design and edit a customized insole for the patient. Its input is the scan file generated by Solescan Rubra. The resulting corrected surface can then be emailed to the manufactured.
- Manufacturing process via Insole Studio export module: Once the insole has been designed, an optional software tool processes the file and generates the code required by a milling machine or robot to automatically generate a positive version of the corrected surface. This surface is then used to manufacture the insole through a thermoforming process.
The scanner’s computer application offers exclusive functions in relation to the production of insole orthesis that are tailor-made to individual patient needs. Of these functions, remote communication with the production site over the internet, and the possibility of developing a specific program to mechanize insole production using a KUKA robot, may be highlighted.
The formats of CNC filed generated by Insole Designer are the following:
- G-Code: The most common and widely used programming language for numerical control machines. The file generated by Insole Designer in G-Code format can be used in a wide range of milling machines.
- NCP-ISEL: NCP-ISEL is a specific numerical control machine programming system for ISEL cards. Insole Designer generates an archive in this format than can be used in milling machines manufactured by ISEL.
- Robot KUKA: Insole Designer exports files in TAP format. These files contain the programming instructions for KUKA robots for the machining of the customized insole, using three or six axes.
- CAM applications: Insole Designer exports the insoles designed by the chiropodist in the following formats: STL, OBJ, DXF and VRML. These formats are accepted by CAM programs such as CUT3D, which in turn generate the numerical control program for any kind of milling machine or robot.
- Materials: The wide range of communication options between Insole Designer and numerical control machines mean that customized insoles generated can be machined in almost all kinds of material, such as EVA (any density), polypropylene, etc.
- Thermoforming: The manufacture of thermoformed insoles requires the machining of the insole moulds. Insole Designer generates the files required for the machining of moulds for different materials, such as plaster, expanded polystyrene, etc.