Milled orthoses with Bodytronic ID:CAM “The decision was spot on“
Spörer AG, which is headquartered in the German city of Ingolstadt and is one of the largest suppliers of orthopedic and rehabilitation aids in Southern Germany, has always been keen to use cutting-edge production methods. Soon, all 13 of its branches will benefit from Bodytronic ID:CAM, Bauerfeind’s solution for customized milled orthoses.
“Bauerfeind’s offer around one and a half years ago came at exactly the right time,” says Josef Greipl , Head of Orthopedic Technology at Spörer AG. “We were in the process of deciding whether to increase our milling activities and invest in our own in-house milling machine. Then came the suggestion of testing Bauerfeind’s Bodytronic ID:CAM. The idea of modeling foot orthoses in house and then having them milled by Bauerfeind appealed to us immediately. After all , purchasing our own milling machine would be a huge investment.”
No sooner said than done. The master orthotist put the web-based platform through its paces at the company’s Rosenheim and Traunstein branches in the Chiemgau region of Bavaria for nine months. “It worked so well that soon we’ll be using it in all twelve Spörer branches in Bavaria as well as the branch in the Berufsgenossenschaftliche Unfallklinik (Employers’ Liability Insurance Association Emergency Hospital) in Frankfurt am Main,” reports Josef Greipl. “Bodytronic ID:CAM is a truly pioneering service,” says the 38-year-old enthusiastically. “The system works by modeling a digitalized imprint on the PC. After that , the foot orthosis can be reproduced at any time at the click of a button. With all due respect to our employees’ excellent craftsmanship skills, if a patient comes in and says that they love their foot orthosis and want exactly the same design again, Bodytronic ID:CAM can provide this without further ado.”
Significantly more possibilities
Precise reproducibility is just one of the benefits experienced by Greipl. “The system is excellent at modeling orthoses. I used to work with GloboCAD Expert but Bodytronic ID:Cam opens up significantly more possibilities,” says the Head of Orthopedic Technology. Whether the transverse arch needs to be raised, a toe strap needs to be added, or heel relief is required, operators have numerous modules to choose from to allow them to model the perfect customized foot orthosis. To help operators maintain a clear grasp of the huge number of options available to them, Josef Greipl worked alongside a master orthotist and orthopedic specialists to create two predefined basic Spörer models. “There is a basic model for therapeutic shoes and one for everyday shoes. My colleagues can take these basic models and adapt them to each customer’s personal needs by changing features such as the orthoses material , the basic thickness, the elements included, and the cover fabric,” he explains.
Working with Bodytronic ID:CAM also helps boost the company’s efficiency. The measurement data required is recorded in each individual branch using a foot scanner. “The only time we use foot impression foam is when our field sales staff visit nursing homes or see patients in their own home. But even then, we scan the information in afterwards,” says Greipl. The measurement data is then imported into the system and the customized foot orthoses are modeled at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt.
An economic solution providing consistently high quality
“Modeling our products at our headquarters allows us to achieve consistent quality. The system is operated by two to three members of staff who all work to the same standard. We chose this approach because we feel it is very important that our milled orthoses are all produced using a uniform method.” Spörer uses the “Professional” profile. This means that the foot orthoses are fully configured and modeled in Ingolstadt before being sent online for production at Bauerfeind. “Outsourcing our milling work has also dramatically reduced the number of goods stored in our warehouse,” says Greipl , describing one of the welcome side effects of the system. Another advantage of the solution mentioned by Greipl is that it reduces the workload of the company’s in-house sales staff: “The interface between the system and our administration software enables various functions to be connected to each other. For example, we are automatically provided with the right medical aid numbers and the necessary surcharges.” This will assist Spörer’s employees enormously, especially considering that the company expects to sell between 500 and 700 milled orthoses a month in the future.
Once Bauerfeind delivers the milled orthoses back to the company’s headquarters, staff there simply grind the product down to the correct inner sole shape and add the desired top cover, before sending the foot orthosis to the branch that ordered it for the final adjustments. Here, a master orthotist fits the orthosis into the patient’s shoe.
And how have Spörer’s patients responded to the new system so far? “Although a few of our long-standing customers have asked us why we’ve switched from soft cushioned orthoses to milled orthoses, the feedback has been positive across the board. This is because the products are fully customized – and this is something our patients have picked up on. It also explains why the physicians to whom I’ve already presented the system are also extremely pleased that we’ve introduced it ,” reports the master orthotist. He adds that customers are also more willing to pay surcharges for high-quality foot orthoses. “The products covered by health insurance schemes in our foot orthoses department comprise a range of blanks as well as standard and premium milled orthoses. The decision ultimately comes down to whether the customer would like a single-layer or multi-layer model or a greater choice of covers, etc. During the test phase, standard and premium foot orthoses accounted for 93 percent of the products supplied, proving that our decision to start using Bodytronic ID:CAM was spot on!”
The Bodytronic ID:CAM web application is available online at any time at www.bauerfeind.com/idcam
Images: Conny Kurz