3D orthotics printer wins £860k investment
9 January 2014
Burnley based FDM Solutions has secured a £860,000 investment
from the North West Fund for Venture Capital and Lancashire’s
Rosebud Fund to produce made-to-measure insoles for the NHS using
its 3D printing system.
The system enables hospitals to scan a patient’s foot shape and
email it to the company, which will then print and deliver insoles
to the exact specification within as little as 48 hours. The process
will replace the traditional hand-made techniques and could
revolutionise the way the NHS buys orthotics and other products.
FDM, together with and its partners East Lancashire Hospitals NHS
Trust and the University of Salford, have already won grants
totalling almost £1m from the Technology Strategy Board and EPSRC to
help them develop the supply chain. This funding will enable the
company to invest in the latest 3D technology to allow it to fulfil
future orders. FDM Digital also manufactures components for the
aerospace, engineering, automotive and motor sports industries.
Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Fund has provided £172,000
while The North West Fund for Venture Capital has invested £688,000.
Both funds are managed by Enterprise Ventures. The North West Fund
for Venture Capital is part of the £155m North West Fund and is
financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the
European Investment Bank.
James Saunders, Managing Director
of FDM Digital, said, “This new system could improve quality and
reduce consultants’ time. It’s great that Rosebud and The North West
Fund for Venture Capital have seen its potential and are backing our
vision. 3D printing could transform supply chains in the NHS and
other industries. We will become the leading centre of excellence
for this new technology in the North West.”
Doug Stellman of
Enterprise Ventures said: “3D printing allows a radically different
approach to manufacturing as can be seen from the healthy order flow
being generated from their existing customer base. The technology
that FDM is now proposing for orthotics allows the shape and
properties of the materials be varied to match the patient's exact
needs, as well as pioneering a new lean supply chain model which can
be applied throughout the NHS.“