May 25, 2011

Delcam focuses new orthotics CADCAM software on higher productivity

Delcam has launched new versions of its OrthoModel and OrthoMill software for, respectively, the design and manufacture of custom orthotic insoles. The main focus in both new releases has been on increasing the productivity that is possible with the systems, especially for companies making soft insoles from EVA. Other enhancements in OrthoModel include improved methods for the development of foot-positive designs, while the new OrthoMill program makes it easier for users to import custom insoles from other design packages. To find out more, please visit www.delcam-healthcare.com.

As with all new releases of the software, the enhancements to the latest versions have been developed in association with Delcam’s customers from laboratories, podiatrists and orthotists around the world, coupled with the company’s knowledge of footwear design and manufacture gained from its relationships with leading brands such as Nike and Reebok. This combination of expertise has been a key part of the success of the software. Sales tripled from 2009 to 2010, making orthotics the fastest-growing area of Delcam’s business.

"Typical users with OrthoModel and OrthoMill have been able to increase their output from 200 pairs to 1,000 pairs per month by replacing the expensive, slow and messy casting process with our simple, non-contact digital solution,” claimed Chris Lawrie, Delcam’s Healthcare Business Development Manager. "Now those companies want even faster solutions so that they can move up to 2,000 pairs each month, while our largest customers need to produce hundreds of thousands of units per year.”

The most important enhancement to OrthoModel is the ability to create a library of 3D met pads and met dome models that can be wrapped onto the foot orthotic to complete the design. This will make the design of soft orthotics much faster since it is quicker to add these elements from a library than to create a new shape for every patient. Delcam will supply an initial library with the software, and the user can then edit and add to this range with their own designs. In a related development, the editing of curves that define areas for cut-outs has been improved to allow quicker and easier modification.

The other significant improvement has been to extend the ability to manufacture foot-positive patterns to cover all types of functional and accommodative orthotic designs. The patterns can be used to produce insoles from materials that are difficult to machine, such as carbon fibre-reinforced plastics.

The ability of OrthoMill to handle high volumes of orders has been increased by allowing the software to program multiple blocks of material for cutting on a larger machine in a single project. This will again be important for manufacturers using EVA or polyurethane that want to cut orthotics from materials of differing densities in one operation. Previously, the toolpaths for each block would need to be calculated separately, which would take much longer.

Another enhancement in the new release is the possibility for users to model their own blocks of material, including the placement of drill holes, the creation of boundaries for part-used blocks and the specification of areas of different densities.

In addition, the orthotics can now be oriented to their lowest height profile. This allows tall items to be fitted into thinner blocks and so improves material utilisation.

Finally, the orthotic can be machined with a support strip around its full circumference, to maintain its position during machining prior to the final cutting out operation. This approach is more suitable than using tabs when cutting more flexible materials.