ACS Custom speeds up hearing device production with 3D Systems’ Figure 4 3D printing workflow

3D Systems has revealed how UK-based custom hearing device manufacturer ACS Custom is using its Figure 4 3D printing technology to speed up its product development cycle.

The company, which specialises in hearing protection, in-ear monitors, and communication devices, has reportedly achieved a 4X increase in capacity and 2X increase in efficiency, with a 50% reduction in material consumption and up to 80% in labour costs, using the Figure 4 Standalone 3D printer, Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 resin and 3D Sprint software.

“Figure 4 technology has been an integral part of our workflow for the past two years,” said Andy Shiach, managing director, ACS Custom. “Through collaboration with 3D Systems’ team, we’ve been able to maximise the technology’s role in our business and have elevated our company to a whole new level. The unique solution was designed specifically for our application and has helped us dramatically increase production capacity and efficiency as well as unparalleled surface finish to deliver high-quality products to our customers.”

The Figure 4 PRO-BLK 10 resin is said to be integral to the process thanks to its thermoplastic behaviour, accuracy, strength, and durability properties which 3D Systems says are similar to that of injection moulding output. The photopolymer is also said to exhibit significant improvements in first-time print yield, heat deflection, UV stability, durability, flexibility, and impact strength, while its biocompatible capabilities per ISO10993-5 and ISO10993-10 make it ideal for producing end-use, long-wear devices which enable enhanced sound transmission and quality.

ACS Custom also notes how 3D Systems’ 3D Sprint preparation software makes it possible to automatically place multiple parts within in a single build in a formation that minimises touchpoint size and support positioning to achieve the best final product surface quality. 

Scott Anderson, VP & segment leader for manufacturing & prototyping, 3D Systems, added: “Our collaboration with ACS Custom showcases how the Figure 4 solution (hardware, software, and materials) enables direct and indirect digital production to increase efficiency, capacity, and flexibility, while concurrently offering superior end-part quality. This reinforces how additive manufacturing solutions can truly drive competitive advantage.” 

Last year, we reported on how ACS Custom is also using the technology for eggshell casting whereby ultra-thin moulds are printed in Figure 4 EGGSHELL-AMB 10 material and injected with silicone. Once injected, the mould is then peeled away like an eggshell to reveal a silicone part ready for post-processing.

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