Metalwork Technicians: bespoke craftsmen
At Steeper, our orthotics Metalwork team pride themselves on their ability to create, modify or adapt any orthotic product. Our unique capabilities mean that our expert technicians are often called upon to create custom devices or replicate orthoses that have been used for centuries. With no KAFO or BK caliper ever the same, our experienced team members are able to understand the requirements of our patients and have the ability to create products that meet every patient’s exacting need.
Combining old and new
Techniques within metalwork have largely remained unchanged for many years and whilst new innovations and technologies are arising, the bespoke nature of metalwork means that handwork is still the most utilised production method for creating precise and unique orthotic devices. The intuitive nature of handcrafting and the close relationship that our technicians have with clinicians enable our experts to highlight and resolve any problems quickly and easily. This results in products that can be modified during the production process before finishing stage, avoiding any costly adaptions and reducing the waiting time for the patient. Whilst these skills are heavily handcraft based, as an innovative company, we constantly invest in machinery to fine tune the production process. At Steeper HQ, polishing machinery is utilised to ensure a smooth, refined, polished finish that our patients expect from our bespoke orthotic devices. Whilst aesthetics are important, functionality is the most important factor when creating orthotic devices, as such the metals that are used within our devices have remained the same for many years. The EN9 steel that is used within the vast majority of our products has the strength and wear resistance that patients need, yet is pliable enough for our technicians to bend. In instances where further dexterity is needed, aluminium and carbon steel are also used.
A collaborative approach
An integral part of the metalwork manufacturing process is the link between our Plastics and Finishing departments. As such, the team works closely with all departments ensuring a seamless connection and guaranteeing our orthoses are manufactured to specification and meet patients’ expectations. From specification to completion, our technicians have created and developed a wide range of products over the years, from Sitting Braces to Stance Control Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis and Hip Guidance Orthosis to the Steeper ARGO. All of these products require the skilled expertise of our metalwork technicians along with the support of technicians across the board.
Retaining and recruiting expert technicians
With the relocation of Steeper manufacturing to Leeds in 1969 and the continuous recruitment of skilled and experienced metal technicians, our orthotic offering has increased exponentially. Now, with such an array of products, our technicians have the skills necessary to provide patients with the long-term support that they require. From reproducing older orthotic devices to modifying stock products and creating new custom devices, our technicians are continuously pushing manufacturing boundaries and providing patients with highly functional, supportive and comfortable orthoses.