3D printing in orthopaedics: 3ntr 3D printers for the development of healthcare footwear with ACOS Medica

Our goal was to be able to print our customers’ feet. We had the ability to scan them, but I personally wanted to have the ability to physically replicate them. And with 3ntr I found it”.

What might appear to be a singular objective becomes perfectly clear and understandable when you discover that, with his ACOS Medica, Simone Merenda produces tailor-made orthopedic shoes thanks to 3ntr’s 3D printing: the most necessarily precise and “fitting” thing there can be, effectively.

Print the anatomical structure of the foot in ABS thermopolymer

Merenda discovered 3ntr’s 3D printing technology in 2020, through a consultancy service and, after the first conversations, he understood that with 3D printers he could take a decisive step: no longer just scanning people’s feet, but making physically the structure with a 3D printer capable of achieving high levels of precision and accuracy. There are two printers chosen by ACOS Medica: A2v4 for 3D printing of large volumes and quantities and A4v4, the desktop solution for research, development and production, with both of which the company mainly uses ABS plastic thermopolymer.


The 3D printing solution with built-in assistance

Even without fully knowing all the opportunities, Simone Merenda immediately understood the potential that Additive Manufacturing offers to address some production problems: “I had never managed to get a truly realistic prototype of the foot”, he tells “And, since these are customized products, I understood that there were no other machines that could have given me the possibility of obtaining such precise products from a customization point of view. In particular, 3ntr’s A2v4 and A4v4 3D printers have also made it possible to physically create casts of what we consider the most problematic structures of the foot, whereas previously we could only scan them”. 

In addition to solving a need that has been open for some time, the owner of the Italian company has recognized two significant pluses in 3ntr: a product completely made in Italy together with a convenient assistance service.

An entirely digital production process

The workflow that the footwear company has developed with the introduction of 3ntr Additive Manufacturing is interesting: “After scanning the patient’s foot with modeling software”, explains Merenda, “we make the necessary changes and send the file that we will need to create the customized shoe to the 3D printer. The times vary from 8 to 24 hours per pair, based on the shape of the foot”. 

In this way the production process is completed digitally: everything, from acquisition to design, up to the creation of the customized shoe, takes place in an extremely fluid, precise and completely digitalized way.

Casts and structures without limits

The characteristic of 3ntr’s 3D printers that, more than any other, has won over the ACOS Medica team is the fact that they don’t place limits on the shape of the casts that can be made. When producing customized items, these limits previously represented a big problem. “With 3ntr 3D printers, however”, Merenda explains , “we were able to build a digital archive of all customers, with a significant saving of time and with the possibility of precisely measuring costs already in the design phase”. 

With an overall digitalisation of the production chain, ACOS Medica works with ever greater precision. And we are already preparing for the next evolution:“Print a single piece with materials of different densities”, Merenda says.

An evolution that 3ntr has already made possible thanks to its solutions suitable for the co-printing of multiple materials, even with different characteristics, within a single workflow.

One day, this story could be your story. Contact us to discover our professional solutions for 3D Printing. With the help of our consultants we will find new solutions for your design and production.

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