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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L505134/1
Title: Additive manufacture value chain to deliver bespoke orthotics within 48 hours with greatly improved health economics
Principal Investigator: Nester, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Health Sciences
Organisation: University of Salford
Scheme: Technology Programme
Starts: 01 November 2013 Ends: 31 January 2017 Value (£): 261,452
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The NHS and health care sector provide orthotics (sometimes called "supports" or "braces") for people's feet and lower

limbs in order to help treat a wide range of problems associated with walking. People with diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis

sometimes experience excessive pressure under their feet and this can leads to devastating foot problems and even

amputation. Health professionals use orthotics to protect the feet. However, these orthotics need to be adjusted

(customised) for each individual patient and this is a complex, costly, and slow process prone to error.

The research in this project seeks to use innovative manufacturing techniques to combine foot shape with other data (e.g.

pressure under the foot) to design novel foot orthotics. The most innovative part of the project is that the orthotics will be

"printed" rather than using traditional hand-made techniques. The new "printing manufacture" method allows the shape of

the insoles and the properties materials used to be altered to exactly match the needs of the foot and patient, in an almost

infinite number of ways. It also reduces the risk of error and makes reproduction of exactly the same product possible. The

outcome of the project will be a new supply chain for foot orthotics into the NHS, using East Lancashire NHS Trust as a

beacon site for the technology and its implementation.

FDMDS are a 3D technology printing company and they will combine their additive manufacturing expertise with the foot

orthotics knowledge from Salfordinsole Healthcare, an existing supplier of foot orthotics to the NHS. The University of

Salford will research how different orthotic shape and materials used affect the foot. East Lancashire NHS Trust will be the

primary clinical site for orthotic testing and prescription.

The proposal will leave a legacy for FDMDS to use their printing technology for the orthotic sector beyond orthotics for feet.

FDMDS will work with the East Lancashire NHS Trust to develop a plan for how this new "printing" method might have

other advantages in health care. This may involve working with occupational therapists and prosthetists.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.salford.ac.uk