Made in Chattanooga: Fillauer Prosthetics
by Latricia Thomas
A Chattanooga company is using decades of experience to help amputees get back on their feet, whether their limb was lost in battle or to a disease like diabetes. Fillauer Prosthetics creates custom devices that come as high-tech as patients require. Newschannel 9's Latricia Thomas went inside their factory to explain how their prosthetics that are shipped all over the world are Made in Chattanooga.
Walking through Chattanooga's Fillauer Factory is something Jack Richmond doesn't take for granted. "I had an accident in 1987," says Fillauer's sales director. "I lost my leg and was inspired by getting my life back by prosthetics to go into the business." Richmond now wears one of the most advanced prosthetic legs available today made in the very factory where he works.
Machinists start start off with a piece of bar stock and end up with a prosthetic foot. Fillauer's computer starts with a design, and tells the machine how to cut the aluminum alloy into high-tech components that take the place of joints like knees or ankles. The rest of the prosthetic is made to fit a foam replica modeled after the amputees limb.
And whether it's made out of laminated acrylic or thermoplastic, the most important part of the process is fit, which all hinges on the work in the custom assembly area. "You could have the most high tech components," says President Michael Fillauer. "Computer operated knees and arms, but if the brace or limb isn't comfortable, they aren't going to use it."
So while Fillauer keeps creating cutting edge prosthetics, using their Chattanooga-made products to change lives is what they do best. "We do get to help a lot of people," Richmond says. "And that is something that's an extra benefit to something we do everyday to make a difference in people's lives."
Fillauer also makes custom orthotics, which are braces that fit around patients legs or arms depending on their injury. For more on their products, click here to go to their website.
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