QLD orthotics manufacturer adopts new 3D-printing technology

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Hewlett Packard (HP) has introduced its first 3D printing technology to Australia, serving an orthotics manufacturer in Brisbane.

Adopting HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer, iOrthotics will become one of the first orthotics manufacturers in the world to have completely transitioned from polypropylene milling to 3D-additive manufacturing.

“Patients depend upon their orthotics for comfort and wellbeing, so it is only natural that they expect these devices to be strong, sturdy and dependable,” said Dean Hartley, iOrthotics’ founding director and general manager.

“The extensive research and testing we conducted with the University of Queensland provided the empirical evidence that devices manufactured by HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology are 40 to 60 per cent stronger than those produced using traditional polypropylene milling.”

A subsidiary of my FootDr – Australia’s largest podiatry group –iOrthotics supplies custom made orthotic devices to over 50 clinics, and expects to extend its reach to 130 clinics over the next few years, with potential for international expansion.

“As a rapidly growing business, we needed to innovate our manufacturing process to keep up with demand. It was impractical to continue scaling up subtractive milling, which could produce just 30 plastic devices per day. Using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, our output has increased to 120-130 devices per day,” said Damian Vassallo, co-founder of iOrthotics and non-executive director of my FootDr.

“With the ability to extend our capabilities, we are now undertaking orthotic and prosthetic fabrication and offering a 3D bureau printing service for engineering and industrial clients. It has been a quantum leap in technology, and our final investment decision has been validated.”

HP’s ambition is to disrupt the $12 trillion global manufacturing market.

Transitioning Australia’s manufacturing sector to a highly skilled, advanced industry has been identified by the Federal Government as an economic priority.

“The world is going through a major economic and industrial transformation that impacts everything – from the cars we drive, to the clothes we wear, to the education and jobs our children will have in the future,” said Rob Mesaros, managing director, HP South Pacific.

“All industries will go through change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but perhaps none as dramatically as the manufacturing sector. Australian manufacturers like iOrthotics are truly leading the way – transforming their business and positioning themselves for growth by taking full advantage of this technological shift.”