This is in short the Custom-Fit idea: geometrical characteristics are captured using 3D scans, then these data are used to adapt product shape with specialized CAD (Computer Aided Design) and finally products are made with Rapid Manufacturing technologies, the so called additive techniques which print in layers, avoiding the need of expensive moulds.
Figure 1: socket of a trans-femoral prosthesis - the part in the circle - (courtesy of Centro Protesi INAIL)
Figure 2: Socket design with Digital CAD technology
The production of prosthesis is one of the demo-case chosen to try out this new manufacturing concept, specifically the transfemoral prosthesis socket, that is the interface between the residual limb and the artificial leg (cf. Fig 1). Its main functions are to contain and protect the residual limb and to transfer forces from the residual limb to the prosthesis in all the patient’s activities (walking, standing, etc). It must be comfortable, wearable and durable. And to obtain all this, it needs to be perfectly shaped to the patient’s residual limb, so it is a perfect Custom-Fit test bench product.
Inail Centro Protesi, in Italy, has been involved in the Custom-Fit project so as to test the new technology. Manual work is dominant in the traditional manufacturing process. A 1st male cast is used to thermo-form the 1st socket (called 'check' socket); then this socket is tested by the patient and modified according to patient feedback. After this, a second male cast is made in order to manufacture the definitive socket, composed by an inner soft thermo-formable layer and an outer composite structure.
So, a 2 step process, requiring 2 male casts.This is instead what happens with Custom-Fit technology:
After the Check Socket has been tested, the modified shape is scanned by a specific probe scanner which generates the inner surface, from which the definitive socket is designed, with an automated CAD tool developed by project partner Materialise (cf. Fig. 2 - the Digital CAD id used, a design technology which manipulates directly scan data files instead of traditional CAD algorithms). The Definitive Socket is finally produced with a brand new Rapid Manufacturing technique, called Plastic Powder Printing (PPP), developed by Custom-fit partner De Monfort University.
So, thanks to 3D scanning and Rapid Manufacturing techniques which build parts layer by layer directly from 3D CAD file, the use of male casts is avoided. This leads to time savings, shortening the delivery time of the socket from when the patient first comes to the hospital to when he/she is discharged.
Moreover, Rapid Manufacturing allows to control thickness of the socket, having more intelligent structure, reinforced where strength is needed and lightened where it is not.
In most European countries there is constant pressure on budget reductions for public health institutions. Being able to reduce timescales while delivering a solution that is even better and of a higher quality would be very interesting for these parties, not to mention the satisfaction of the patient who will undergo less time hospitalised. Currently, on average, a complete rehabilitation program for a transfemoral amputee lasts 25 days: Custom-Fit technology could reduce this by 30%, about 7 days, that at an average cost per day of around 330€ means a saving of more than 2,000 € for each patient.
Custom-Fit does not want to stop at this stage. Partners in the project, like Politecnico di Milano, are working to develop a technology that will enable us to get the right fit first time, avoiding the need for the Intermediate Socket testing.
This will be possible with a Virtual Simulation tool that can make a complete modelling of a patient’s stump, including the dynamic behaviour of muscle and bone. Not science fiction, but basic research: it’s just a matter of time…
Sunny Martínez - Luisa Marín | alfa
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences