In response to the growing demand for Phits orthotics in the US and Canada and to be closer to their US customers, RS Print, the company behind the 3D printed Phits custom foot orthotics, based in Paal-Beringen (Belgium), opens a US production headquarters near Detroit Michigan, at the Materialise US facilities.
At RS Print, things are moving fast: founded in 2014 and after cautiously taking its first commercial steps in 2015, this year, the company encountered a serious ramp-up in both Europe and the US.. CEO Dennis Vandenbussche: “As we predicted in the beginning of this year, we’re about to double our production each quarter. Moving a part of our production to the US enables us to serve our customers in the US the way they deserve and the way we want to serve them as a company. Local manufacturing in the US was a logical step. It will help us to meet the growing demand for Phits Orthotics and at the same time it reduces our turnaround times.”
Blake Norquist, Director of North American Sales and Business Development, the architect of this success and based in the US, had to overcome the prejudices some health care experts had about 3D printed foot orthotics before it took off. Norquist: “Current 3D printing foot orthotics used consumer self-scanning apps on a smartphone, without any expert involvement. As a certified orthotist myself,I believe orthotics experts in the US were very skeptical about 3D printing for foot orthotics. We really had to stress that our system is expert driven, we provide technical tools, training and manufacturing services, but the expert remains in control of the analysis and the design. These efforts are starting to pay off, as health care specialists in the US are now embracing our science based technology.”
The Belgian HQ invested a lot in training their US colleagues. Support Engineer and Podiatrist Sander Van Nieuwenhoven was in charge of this project. He’s confident about the people he trained: “we’re a young company, so it was a rather scary idea to already move a substantial part of our production, but our colleagues at Materialise in the US are ready to service the American market, bringing their 25 years of experience with 3D printing for the medical market to the table.”
For Materialise USA it was an exciting new challenge as well. “We do have a lot of experience in printing, but for us, the finishing of the insoles was new, Sander provided all necessary training during several visits to the States. We’re very happy to deliver the Phits Orthotics as it is a product that really makes the difference for people. It helps us to show that 3D-printing is not just something for prototyping or sophisticated medical applications, but it can be used to customize widely used products and gives everyday people more comfort in life.”
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