Creating a data-driven module to provide the parameters for custom made orthopaedic insole design optimisation

Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is gaining popularity, especially in the medical sector. It offers significant benefits for MedTech solutions, such as 3D-printed joints, implants, and medical devices. AM provides the freedom to design unique, complex geometries and it enables small batch production. The use of stronger materials reduces product weight or volume, which broadens the spectrum of use. This empowers, amongst others, medical professionals to deliver efficient personalised solutions that precisely fit each patient’s body, not only for (surgical) body parts but also for orthopaedic and podiatric products.

Orthopaedic or podiatric products play a vital role in repairing and supporting the musculoskeletal system, addressing various issues like sports injuries, joint pain, and back problems. One example of such products is bespoke insoles, which fall within the specialty of the M3DSoles consortium. The project consortium consists of PLT Products BV and Voetencentrum Wender, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Advanced Manufacturing (FIP-AM@UT), the University of Twente and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT. PLT Products is a renowned manufacturer and outsourcing partner of professional footwear, specialising in the production of custom-made insoles, amongst which 3D printed ones. Voetencentrum Wender is a market-leading, innovative foot care company, whose core activity is to provide medical services in the foot care industry.

In the realm of insoles, acknowledging the distinctiveness of each individual’s physical condition and unique feet, every insole produced is a bespoke product tailored to meet the specific needs of the patient.

The innovative, personalised 3D printed insoles developed by PLT Products comprise of two fundamental components. The bottom part of the insole, which is partly standardised, can be individually adjusted according to the foot position, diagnosis, and the underlying medical need. This part is finished with a cushioning cover layer, which stimulates even pressure distribution under the foot. This approach ensures that each patient receives a tailor-made solution that optimally addresses their specific needs and enhances overall quality of life.

The AMP project M3DSoles will enhance the design of patient-specific insoles, by optimising key parameters of the insoles shape through simulations. This approach ensures a higher level of personalisation for the soles. For faster optimisation results, a data-driven module will be developed, which recommends property settings based on the patient specific variables entered.

Upon completion of the project, the module is expected to offer valuable advice on parameters such as insole geometry, thickness, size, and material of the end product. The module will be an intelligent tool in the optimisation of personalised solutions and enhance the quality of life of the patient.

Industry partners


Every FIP-AM@UT project is divided into separate work packages, to clearly distinguish the several stages and purposes within the project. The M3DSoles project consists of five work packages.


WP1 – Use case assessment and technology selection

Defining use case requirements and mapping the suitable technology


WP2 - Parameter selection/Design objective

Setting up a numerical model of the customisable insole


WP3 – AI Modelling/Simulation

Data generation and developing an AI model

WP4 – 3D Printing

3D printing material and applicability study

WP5 – Demonstrator

3D printed sole demonstration


Celal Soyarslan

Celal Soyarslan

Senior Research Engineer

Sikander Naseem

Sikander Naseem

Research Engineer

Niklas Bäckel

Research Assistant - Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT

    Frank Ellenbroek

    UT - MSc Student assistant