11 September 2019
Say hello to our newest member of the team – Victor the robot!
Victor, manufactured by Rodin4D, is a seven-axis CNC (which stands for Computer Numerical Control) milling machine that can mill orthoses in any direction and across any plane. This means that, for the first time, the LOC team will be able to design, model and manufacture trickier and unusual ergonomic orthotic shapes on-site at our clinic in Kingston-upon-Thames. LOC is only the second location in the UK to acquire a Victor robot.
Traditional milling machines work on fewer axes, making it virtually impossible to mill certain shapes, explains LOC’s lead orthotist Sam Walmsley: “For example, milling neck collars under the chin is particularly tricky, and the foot has a right angle, which is much more difficult to mill. Victor’s arrival gives us the capacity to mill whatever we want.”
For many years LOC has manufactured the majority of the orthoses that it prescribes and fits, since it allows us to keep a close eye on quality control. It also means that our clinicians are closely involved at every stage of the process, helping to make subtle design tweaks to improve the fit and comfort of an orthotic.
However, historically we’ve had to send trickier orthoses out to a third-party manufacturer, based in Scotland. But with the number of clients looking for our help with spinal work increasing over the past couple of years, Sam and the team decided it was time to invest in new equipment and skills. “It makes more sense to bring these skills in house,” he explains.
One of the most exciting developments is that LOC will now be able to develop CAD-designed lower-limb orthotics on-site. “This is why we have bought this particular model,” says Sam. “We make a lot of our own orthoses, but until now we’ve only worked in plaster of Paris. Manufacturing a CAD/CAM ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) is a different experience, so this is going to be a great opportunity for our team to learn new skills and offer an even wider range of services to our clients.”
Victor will help the LOC team reduce the amount of time it takes to make an orthotic. When using plaster of Paris, it is important to factor in the cast’s curing and drying time as well as a number of other steps. But with Victor, “we could essentially see a patient for a spinal orthotic assessment in the morning, assess them, scan them, model the orthotic and then manufacture and fit it by early afternoon,” says Sam. “There’s a lot of talk about 3D printing being the next big thing but, at the moment a 3D printer doesn’t have the same degree of flexibility. For instance, we wouldn’t be able to make a spinal jacket. With this machine, we can do everything.”
And we’ll also be able to speed up our LOCband design work. “We already manufacture cranial remoulding helmets on-site,” says Sam. “But, again, using Victor means that if a patient is coming from a distance, we could scan the baby’s head and have a LOCband fitted the following day. We’re very proud of our skills with our plaster models and moving into this new field is a big step for us, but we’re always looking to increase our skills and find ways to make the experience as efficient as possible for our clients, so this is a really exciting development. The benefits will be huge.”
If you need help or advice on potential orthotics treatment, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Working with LOC and Elaine has been a great experience – they really take the time to look at your child and understand their individual challenges and needs. For parents who are in the same position that we were, I would say do your research – see what clinics are available near you and what the costs are, but my feeling is it’s worth every penny.
After 10 years of daily physiotherapy and swimming, not to mention SDR, hamstring and tendon lengthening, we have finally achieved independent walking – it was a mother’s day gift that would take some beating.
LOC’s video vector technology measures exactly where Austin’s weight is being distributed, how his hips are moving and how his legs are moving. It’s those insights that have made his new AFOs so effective. Even within a few days, LOC’s splints have had more impact on his independence of movement than anything else we have done.
Since his new orthoses, his change has been remarkable. He is more mobile and can walk independently. Jason is now walking indoors and outdoors and is unrestricted. He is now properly enjoying the summer sunshine for the first time in a few years with no complaints of pain.
It has been a breath of fresh air – LOC’s ability to accommodate Sophie’s circumstances and manufacture her orthotics so quickly has taken a huge amount of potential stress away. Alan talks to Sophie as well - she looks forward to seeing him. He has even been able to fulfil her request to have her SMOs decorated with unicorns! It makes her feel special and much happier about wearing them.
I can now go a mile without having to stop, so it is a lot better and I’m walking in a regular pattern now. The orthotic fits perfectly because LOC took proper mouldings and photographs; they were very thorough.
We have the following facilities and amenities at our Kingston Upon Thames location:
We also have the Gait Laboratory for orthotics patients and Onsite Manufacturing for speedy turnarounds and adjustments whilst you wait.
We have the following facilities and amenities at our Cambridge location:
We have the following facilities and amenities at our Bristol location:
For more information, visit Litfield House Medical Centre.
LOC’s clinic is based in the University of Salford’s Podiatry Department and provides treatments for orthotics, scoliosis, pectus deformities, positional plagiocephaly and club foot.
It is also the base for LOC’s northern OSKAR clinic which is run by Sam Walmsley, clinical director of LOC, in conjunction with Elaine Owen MBE MSc SRP MCSP.
Due to COVID-19, we have had to temporarily close the Salford clinic and are operating out of another clinic in Bolton.
508 Blackburn Rd,
For more information, please visit The Good Health Centre