Page 13 - 3D Metal Printing Fall 2018
P. 13

 Tech Update 3D
  3D-Printed Hearing Aid Almost Invisible
When Worn
Switzerland-based Sonova Holding AG, provider of Phonak hearing aids, has scored a first with its award-winning Virto B-Titanium hearing aid. The device is the smallest and most discreet hearing aid Sonova has ever produced and, accord- ing to the company, the world’s first mainstream custom titanium hearing aid.
The titanium shells are half as thin, yet 15 times stronger than traditional shells, meaning that the hearing aid can be placed even deeper in the canal, resulting in a virtually invisible fit. It’s powered by Phonak’s AutoSense operating system, which analyzes incoming sounds in real- time and automatically activates a blend of settings, programs and features. These attributes reportedly result in a seamless, more natural hearing experience.
Leo den Hartog, senior manager at Phonak, says that 3D printing, more specifically selective laser melting, is “the optimal technology” for the device. “It allows us to make the hearing aids out of medical-grade titanium, and make them available to the broader market.” The Phonak brand also uses 3D selective laser sintering for its acrylic hearing-aid shells.
“We believe,” says den Hartog, “that we have only scratched the sur- face of what 3D-printing technology can provide.”
Reclaiming System for Dense Metal Powders
The new Hi-Sifter powder-reclaiming
system from Elcan Industries is designed
for dense metal powders used in additive
manufacturing. It employs a high-energy
approach to make fine separations, and
can screen to 10 microns at higher rates
than comparable systems, according to
company officials. Constructed using only
polished stainless steel, the system is an
ideal fit for aerospace and biomedical
applications. The Hi-Sifter can remove
oversized splatter while maximizing poten-
tial yields and removing bottlenecks relat-
ed to reclaiming, without the need for
ultrasonic deblending systems. For users
of powders such as titanium and aluminum, the system comes with explosion-proof and inert-gas capabilities.
Elcan Industries:
New System Delivers Higher-Resolution Printing and a Path to Low-Volume Production
Desktop Metal has introduced the Studio System+, an advanced metal 3D-printing system reportedly combining all of the innovative and office-friendly features of the original Studio System with even more functionality to print small metal parts with
higher resolution. The company also announced the introduction of Studio Fleet, a custom-config- urable solution designed to address chal- lenges in low- to mid-volume production.
Says Ric Fulop, CEO and co- founder of Desk-
top Metal: “Engineers and designers looking to push the limits of metal 3D printing with small parts, or parts with fine details, now can achieve even higher resolution, with a customizable system configuration for greater process efficiency and through- put right on the shop floor.”
Building off of the flagship system, the Studio System+ incorporates new print capabilities as well as hardware updates designed for increased throughput. A new swappable, high-resolution print head with supporting software profiles allows for

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