Materialise and HP have entered into an exclusive agreement with RSPrint to set up an end to end solution to manufacture fully customized 3D-printed insoles.
The agreement revolves around FitStation, which uses HP 3D printing technology to deliver individualized footwear through innovative 3D scanning, dynamic gait analysis and manufacturing technologies. Under this new arrangement the Materialise software suite will now be integrated into FitStation to translate individual biomechanical data into personalized insoles. This software manages and automates the print preparation and production process of the insoles, which is a first step in scaling it up for manufacturing.
Fried Vancraen, Materialise CEO, commented: “3D Printing holds the promise of revolutionizing the footwear industry by offering a level of customization never seen before.”
The idea is that this approach will be a cost-effective way of mass manufacturing entirely individualized products. There are a number of advantages in this kind of decentralized, on-demand manufacturing model. It means that retailers can minimise stock costs as well as reducing product returns by providing customers with a precise fit and individualized design. The same kind of approach is also being taken with other highly individualised products, such as hearing aids and glasses, where products can be manufactured for specific customers.
Separately, HP has reported that Materialise has already deployed eight of its HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printers.