Westward Bound: Phits Expands to the USA
The field of orthotics has always been restrained by the difficulties of making precise, tailor-made insoles for every patient. Phits was born out of a desire to change this – using RS Scan Footscan® technology to scan the running gait of each individual customer, the data gets sent to Materialise and a unique insole is printed out and sent to the customer within two weeks.
Phits has not been idle since the company was started in 2014 – they took their first commercial steps in 2015 and have been encountering some serious interest in Belgium and the USA. In the words of their 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.” That isn’t to say everything went without a hitch. Some of the more traditional healthcare experts in the US had a few prejudices against 3D-printed foot orthotics as the technology and concept was so new. Blake Norquist, the Director of North American Sales and Business Development for Phits and a certified orthotist himself, was able to pull off the move successfully and convince his peers about the added value of 3D-printed insoles.
“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 healthcare specialists in the US are now embracing our science-based technology” Blake stated.
Now that production in the US has started in earnest, 3D Printing can continue to spread the impact it has on people’s lives – and Materialise is happy to provide our support and expertise as Phits ventures onto new territory.