A BURNLEY company which is pioneering the use of 3D printing to produce made-to-measure insoles for the NHS has secured a £860,000 investment.

Using the system being developed by FDM Digital Solutions, hospitals will be able to scan a patient’s foot shape and email it to the firm, which will then print and deliver insoles to the exact specification within as little as 48 hours.

The process will replace traditional hand-made techniques, and could revolutionise the way the NHS buys orthotics and other products.

The announcement is another boost for business in Burnley, which was last year named as the ‘most enterprising place’ in Britain.

The funding has been awarded from The North West Fund for Venture Capital and Lancashire’s Rosebud Fund.

3D printing involves making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model.

FDM employs three people and has its headquarters at Lancashire Digital Technology Centre, in Bancroft Road.

James Saunders, managing director, said: “This new system could improve quality, and reduce consultants’ time.

“It’s great that Rosebud and The North West Fund for Venture Capital have seen its potential and are backing our vision.

“3D printing could transform supply chains in the NHS and other industries.

“We will become the leading centre of excellence for this new technology in the North West.”

Niki Penney, a county councillor and chairman of Lancashire County Developments Limited, the council’s economic development company, said: “Through Rosebud, we’re encouraging innovative companies to grow and develop.

“There's great potential for 21st century technology, such as 3D Printing, to create new jobs in exciting new fields of work.

“With more than 25 years' experience, Rosebud is still working hard to support cutting-edge companies in Lancashire from high-growth sectors."