Realignment of additive manufacturing for complex housings

Initial situation: 
Our customer was faced with the challenge of producing a highly complex housing that had extremely demanding integration requirements for tool-free additive manufacturing.

The requirements included precision of 0.02mm in the CNC milling of all functional surfaces as well as ensuring media tightness and dimensional accuracy of the fits and flange surfaces. The project included the development of an integrated lubrication and cooling concept for a highly complex system.

Challenges:
In the past, a manual and time-consuming process was used to create a leg orthosis. Models were taken of the patient's feet and then cast and used as the basis for the orthosis modelling. This process took 3 to 4 days per orthosis and was time-consuming and labour-intensive

Solution approach: 
We developed a digital and more efficient process for creating the leg orthosis. The patient's foot was scanned directly on site by an employee of a medical supply store. The scan data was then individually adapted to the patient or modelled using special software. The CAD data created was then sent to our team in Lichtenfels.

A semi-automated design process was used to create printable 3D models from the CAD data, which were then produced on special powder bed printers. Combined with prefabricated carbon rods, the individual components were then sent to the medical supply store as a kit. There, they were fitted with foam, straps and rollers or soles and fully assembled.

The final fitting was then carried out on site at the hospital for the patients. To check the service life and load limits, we developed our own test stand for endurance and load tests and carried out corresponding test series. The corresponding test series were carried out while continuously incorporating the results into the design FMEA.

Result:
Thanks to the new digital process chain, eight patients were able to walk successfully with the new leg orthosis. The innovative approach not only saves time, but also improves the precision and adaptability of the orthosis. This leads to faster rehabilitation and significantly higher patient satisfaction. Another advantage is that patient data can be used later for treatment without any problems. A possible replacement of the orthoses is also quicker and easier thanks to the data already available.

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