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An Automated Orthotic Manufacturing Process – AOMS TOT MILL

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The Story of ‘As-Is’

In 1993 when we set up the first AOMS system for a podiatric orthotics lab, we learnt that the lab had 7 cast correction styles. We need to duplicate these correction styles as close as possible. One of the correction styles was called ‘As-Is’. As the name indicates, the cast correction does not actually add any plaster to the cast. The cast needs to be simply cleaned up, and then be used as mold for orthotics. In the digital world, we need to use the RAW file of the foot to mill out the same foot.

This seemingly simple style had created a big challenge for us. In our AOMS 1.0 software, we used math models (spline surfaces), which do not allow very detailed curvatures. As result, we had to tell the customer that we were unable to do it, so we had to leave it out of the automation system. We could accomplish the other 6 styles, but not ‘As-Is’. It is a shame. The shame has been with us for more than 20 years, until now. We are now able to make ‘As-Is’ with newer technologies.

‘As-Is’ style represents a need in foot orthotics. The contour of the orthotic closely follows the shape of the foot and the contour can go up to the sulcus below the toes. Some labs call the style a ‘wash’, because the cast needs to be put into a bucket of water with a hand wash. With the newer technology, like the iPad scanner with AOMS TOT, we are able to achieve what we have been dreaming for.

Without tool-diameter compensation, the positive molds will be smaller; and the negatives (like the insole) will be bigger. So tool compensation is necessary. With AOMS TOT MILL, we do not use a math model (spline surface), except necessary cropping, cleaning, rotating and filtering of the foot.

Without a math model, tool-diameter compensation is a real challenge. An informal method is to expend (or shrink) the foot in X and Y directions with a scale. It is not true tool compensation. The true tool compensation requires compensating the tool diameter along the normal vector that is vertical to the tangent of the surface. AOMS TOT MILL is able to do true tool compensation.

The scanned image needs to be in relatively good quality though. A little dent (a small indentation) in the RAW image can cause a big hole on the cast, because of the tool diameter, usually 0.5-inch. The software has some ability to filter out the noise.

Please contact us if you are interested or you have any questions.

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