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Comfort and flexibility in new ankle prosthesis

Laminate optimisation, finite element (FE) simulations and strength verifications central to developing the new composite components.

12th October 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Netherlands & Belgium


Solico, the composite engineering specialist based in Oosterhout in the Netherlands has recently collaborated with Belgian prosthetics specialist Axiles Bionics on the Lunaris ankle-foot prosthesis which features bespoke composite components.

The Lunaris prosthesis uses the composites to reduce the overall weight and outer dimensions of the unit, significantly enhancing performance and aesthetics when compared to earlier all-metallic designs. These now allow Axiles Bionics to contain the Lunaris AI sensor package in a compact size, as well as delivering the specific non-linear stiffness required for a more natural gait.

Solico engineers worked closely with the Axiles Bionics design and engineering teams throughout the two-year project, carrying out laminate optimisation, finite element (FE) simulations and strength verifications for the new composite components.

 “The Lunaris was a unique and challenging design project, being our first composite medical prosthesis design, and also a much smaller structure than we typically analyse,” said Katleen Mattheus, composite lead engineer at Solico. “Our FE analysis allowed us to predict the stiffness of various set-ups and model how the foot would behave, speeding up the optimisation process and reducing the real life test time required. The final design was load tested in our lab to verify the strength and real-life characteristics of the composite parts.”

© Axiles Bionics

“We decided to bring Solico in at the start of our development process,” added said Pierre Cherelle, CEO at Axiles Bionics. “Doing so and designing collaboratively has given us the opportunity to not only integrate high level expertise in composite materials and their behaviour, but also to bring very practical know-how in the daily and long term use of those components. This resulted in a fantastic product, as well as a significant increase in Intellectual Property that will provide us with long term competitive advantages.”

Incorporated in January 2019, Axiles Bionics is a spin-off from BruBotics (VUB) with a mission to improve the quality of life of people with smart assistive robotics and with an ambition to build an innovation centre of excellence in new bionic technologies in Brussels.

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