December 2012

Delcam Healthcare Solutions: Powerful technology designed by medical experts for medical experts

By Samantha Rosenblum

Delcam is a supplier of advanced CAD-CAM solutions for the manufacturing industry. Using technology that allows customers to take complex-shaped products from concept to reality, Delcam’s range of software is utilized by more than 40,000 organizations in over 80 countries. Delcam software is used in a range of industries, but the company’s Healthcare Solutions sector includes manufacturing tools for custom orthotic insoles.

Delcam has always provided high-end CAD-CAM solutions built on a software engine that allowed customers to design and manufacture organic shapes easily,” said Maida Koller, vice president of sales for Delcam North America. “Over the years, the product offerings evolved to include a complete range of products, from concept through inspection. One of the things that has always made Delcam unique is the underlying core technology that combines surfaces and solids to allow our customers to be able to design and manufacture the most complex shapes.”

Started more than 40 years ago in Birmingham, UK, Delcam now has corporate headquarters in the US and Canada, and more than 300 offices worldwide. Both sales and support offices offer local training and support for new and experienced users.

Delcam’s size may be unique amongst the other suppliers of software and hardware in niche industries, such as custom orthotics,” Koller said. “However, our size has never impacted the interaction with our customers. We strive to work very closely with industry leaders, and rely on customer feedback to help develop the products that the market requires.”

Delcam is involved in a number of technology forums. “These allow innovations in the industry to develop into software solutions that our customers can benefit from,” Koller said.

The company has run an orthotics technology forum for two years, and is in the middle of planning a third. According to Koller, the forums, typically cospon­sored by Delcam and a university, highlight Delcam’s biomechanics and foot orthotic research. The forums also include information about recent technology advances. Additionally, guest speakers from around the world discuss new ideas, such as methods of increasing produc­tivity and reducing manufacturing costs.

As a CAD-CAM supplier, Delcam offers its software either as a complete solution or as a series of stand-alone products and can provide a comprehensive design-through-manufacture system for com­panies that are new to CAD-CAM or looking to replace old software.

Alternatively, Delcam can supply individual programs for companies aiming to increase the performance of their existing systems.

Over the years, customized solutions for a particular type of product have emerged, especially in markets that have applications that are traditionally handcrafted. “The problem for many of these industries is that, although they knew they could benefit from technology, they didn’t necessarily have the skilled labor that would be proficient in CAD or CAM,” Koller said. “This led to Delcam developing products specially designed for healthcare applications.”

Delcam created a dedicated Healthcare Division in 2009 to provide a greater focus on specific medical industries. The goal of this division is to help companies in the medical and associated industries produce high-quality products. With Delcam’s expertise and experience in CAD-CAM, companies can take advantage of the latest design and manufacturing techniques to service patients as quickly and effectively as possible.

Industry-specific products are powered by the same high-end specialist CAD-CAM software and combined with a domain-specific workflow. This allows any skilled technician to use the program without years of training or engineering experience, according to Koller. These solutions include scanning hardware, CAD, CAM, and workflow tools for designing and manufacturing dental restorations and custom foot orthotics.

In terms of new products, Delcam has just released a new version of Ortho­Model, which builds the knowledge of a laboratory or practitioner into the software, allowing a custom orthotic device to be built in seconds instead of minutes. This software tool is used for designing any type and complexity of corrective or accommodating custom foot orthoses. “When coupled with Delcam’s market-leading iQube 3D plantar foot scanner, perfect fitting devices are guaranteed every time,” Koller said.

OrthoModel is driven by Delcam’s CAD engine, but steered by an interface designed by orthotists and podiatrists from around the world. This software tool allows design for soft anatomical insoles for diabetic patients, rigid polypropylene devices for correcting gait, or foot positives for vacuum forming. The iQube foot scanner is built on technology developed to measure high-precision automotive and aerospace products to within a hair’s width. This design allows a patient’s foot to be scanned in nonweight, partial-weight, and full weightbearing positions.

Delcam’s incorporation of its CAD-CAM experience, along with input from experienced medical partners, has created a powerful CAD-CAM and communication technology designed by medical professionals for medical professionals.

The company provides international support to large healthcare providers as well as smaller companies, giving all cus­tomers the necessary tools for efficient product design and manufacturing software.

Samantha Rosenblum is a journalism student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Article sponsored by Delcam.

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