Additive manufacturing and the future of customizable products

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Traditional manufacturing is geared towards large-scale production that meets the needs of the masses. Engineers go through hundreds, if not thousands, of iterations of a design before it hits the market, but the problem is that not all products are a “one-size-fits-all”. But now, with additive manufacturing on their side, companies are realizing that they can effectively and efficiently make products with each customer in mind. And instead of producing for the masses, companies like insole manufacturer Superfeet, are going back to how things should be produced—for a market of one.

“Taking innovation from concept to consumer, our company is completely upending the way products make their way to market” spokespersons for Superfeet said in a recent press release. “Consumers will no longer have to settle for mass-manufactured insoles and footwear.”

“With advanced submillimeter-definition 3D scanning and biomechanical pressure analysis, we analyze the way feet move and interact with the ground to create a fully individualized, 3D-printed shape.”

Superfeet has developed the ME3D line of insoles that are 3D printed and custom-fit based on scans of an individual’s foot. In-store you’ll be able to step onto a scanner, and instead of picking standard insoles that fit you best, you’ll have a unique pair printed just for you.

“For 40 years we have set the standard for shape and fit. Until today the technology was not available to deliver a 3D printed insole that met our exacting standards,” says Eric Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer at Superfeet. “Our new solution allows us to create the most individualized shape and fit solution on the planet.”

At a time when custom products and state-of-the-art solutions are increasingly in-demand, companies are finding new uses for additive engineering and creative designs. Thanks to advancements in additive manufacturing, speed and cost have shifted enough to make these products available in real-time for the average consumer.

But products like these are still only the start of the additive engineering revolution. With advanced simulation software and continued improvements in 3D printing functionality, consumers can expect to see much more for companies that push the envelope.


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