Brisbane-based iOrthotics has adopted additive manufacturing technology from HP 3D Printing Solutions to produce stronger orthotics devices faster and more sustainably.

HP has expanded its HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology into Australia, announcing iOrthotics as the first commercial customer to purchase an HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200 Printing Solution in the country. Adopting HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology will allow iOrthotics to become one of the first orthotics manufacturers in the world to have completely transitioned from polypropylene milling to 3D additive manufacturing – a faster, more sustainable method producing custom-made orthotics devices that are significantly stronger.

iOrthotics recognised the economic benefits that would flow from digitising their operations and shifting to the market’s most advanced 3D printing innovations to produce products faster, superior in quality and with almost zero waste.

“Patients depend upon their orthotics for comfort and wellbeing, so it is only natural that they expect these devices to be strong, sturdy and dependable,” said Dean Hartley, founding Director and General Manager, iOrthotics. “The extensive research and testing we conducted with the University of Queensland provided the empirical evidence that devices manufactured by HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology are 40%-60% stronger than those produced using traditional polypropylene milling.”

The dramatic increase in scalability, speed, and volume afforded by HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology will enable iOrthotics to pursue rapid growth. A subsidiary of my FootDr – Australia’s largest podiatry group – the company supplies custom-made orthotic devices to over 50 clinics, and expects to extend its reach to 130 clinics over the next few years, with potential for international expansion.

“As a rapidly growing business, we needed to innovate our manufacturing process to keep up with demand,” said Damian Vassallo, co-founder of iOrthotics and non-executive director of my FootDr. “It was impractical to continue scaling up subtractive milling, which could produce just 30 plastic devices per day. Using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, our output has increased to 120-130 devices per day.

With the ability to extend our capabilities, we are now undertaking orthotic and prosthetic fabrication and offering a 3D bureau printing service for engineering and industrial clients. It has been a quantum leap in technology, and our final investment decision has been validated.

“In addition, we recognised the economic and environmental impact of material wastage,” Hartley added. “Subtractive milling results in 95% of the polypropylene being wasted, whereas HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology has reduced wastage to less than 1% of the material.”

HP’s ambition is to disrupt the $12 trillion global manufacturing market, and to make 3D printing a core part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. HP and its partners are accelerating the end-to-end digital reinvention of the manufacturing industry, and transforming every step of the value chain – from design to workflow to materials to fabrication to post-processing to supply-chain to recyclability.

In Australia, 3D printing represents a significant opportunity to reinvent the local manufacturing industry. Transitioning Australia’s manufacturing sector to a highly skilled, advanced industry has been identified by the Federal Government as an economic priority.

“The world is going through a major economic and industrial transformation that impacts everything – from the cars we drive, to the clothes we wear, to the education and jobs our children will have in the future,” said Rob Mesaros, Managing Director, HP South Pacific. “All industries will go through change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but perhaps none as dramatically as the manufacturing sector. Australian manufacturers like iOrthotics are truly leading the way – transforming their business and positioning themselves for growth by taking full advantage of this technological shift.”

HP is moving fast to ramp up the availability and delivery of its Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solutions. Globally, HP is working with companies such as BMW, Nike, J&J, Jabil, Jaguar Land Rover, ETH Zurich and Danfoss Group, as well as manufacturing service bureaus like Materialise, Proto Labs, Forecast 3D and Go Proto.  In August, HP announced a global alliance with Deloitte, combining HP’s leading 3D printing platform with Deloitte’s unrivalled digital transformation capabilities. HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solutions are now available in Australia.