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Many added values for the patient
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Many added values for the patient

Whether orthoses, shoe inlays or hearing aids: Additive manufacturing has long been part of everyday production life.

Prostheses and orthoses have been 3D printed for years - additive manufacturing has already established itself here. Manufacturers and numerous service providers have now developed professional solutions for the entire process chain. Patients benefit with 3D-printed orthoses and prostheses from the individual fit as well as from a significantly faster production and the possibility of an individual design - for example through colour or ornamentation. 3D-printed orthoses are also significantly more aesthetic than plaster models. The material used here is nylon, i.e. PA 12, because it is durable, biocompatible and acid-resistant.

Individual shoe inlays are also possible with 3D printing. By scanning the foot, the customized insole can be manufactured additively. How additive manufacturing can be combined with modern technology applications is demonstrated by the traditional orthopaedics company Dr. Scholl, which announced a partnership with Wiivv in 2019. With Wiivv's smartphone app, consumers can scan their feet at home and order their appropriate insoles directly. Wivv also offers custom sandals.

3D printing is similarly established in the production of hearing aids. One of the largest producers, the Swiss company Sonova, has been relying on additive manufacturing for around 20 years. In the meantime, all in-ear hearing aid shells and various ear molds are produced with 3D printers. This means that wearers receive shells adapted to their auditory canals and individual hearing limitation.

For suppliers of orthoses, prostheses, hearing aids and insoles, 3D printing offers excellent opportunities to offer customers numerous added values and thus stand out from the competition. At Formnext 2019, users will find solutions for the entire process chain - from scanners, materials and 3D printers to quality control and post-processing. And there are also numerous service providers who offer smooth delivery.

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