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Robotic hand made in HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology

The Italian company Prensilia produces hand prostheses for companies specializing in prosthetic devices and scientific research. Together with Elastico Disegno – a consulting company in the field of design and innovation, it set itself the goal of developing and introducing to the market a new, functional robotic hand with a light, yet solid construction and aesthetic design. Elastico Disegno helped Prensilia take full advantage of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology, which accelerated product development.

In 2012, Prensilia set itself the goal of creating a robotic hand that was lightweight, highly functional, aesthetically appealing and robust enough to protect the internal mechanical and electronic components of the device. All this while maintaining the minimum costs of small-lot production. Such a challenge obliged Elastico Disegno to overcome the limitations of traditional production methods and filament-based 3D printing technologies.

Creating the shape of the hand and its internal mechanism required the use of advanced CAD software in the form of PTC Creo. Thanks to this, it was possible to design mechanical and anatomical parts in one environment, which accelerated product development and minimized the number of necessary components. The result is anatomical parts that are strong enough to protect the internal mechanism.

The robotic hand, named Mia, has titanium sensors implanted in a transradial implant between the elbow and wrist. The cables and electrodes that connect the muscles and nerves pass through the two bones of the forearm: the ulna and the radius, returning the information captured by the fingers and amplifying the movement. PTC Creo’s freestyle modeling features made it easy to design the anatomy, ensuring the correct shape and proportions of the human hand, and consistency from concept to design to final product.

Due to the complexity of most parts of the robotic hand, Prensilia and Elastico Disegno decided that additive manufacturing was the only viable and cost-effective manufacturing method for this project. The outer palm and finger covers are made in HP Multi Jet Fusion technology using HP 3D High Reusability PA 12 material. This material combines strength and aesthetics desired by Prensilia. These components include parts that are subject to wear, especially buttons and snaps. The soft parts of Mia’s fingertips are made of silicone molds, also produced by Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers, and HP 3D HR PA 12 thermoplastic material.

According to Prensilia, replacing metal molds with plastic has allowed the company to reduce investment costs and production time without compromising productivity or surface finish. In 2019, Mia received the Red Dot Award, an international product design award for design that is awarded annually to products of exceptional design quality.

“When we first tried Mia on a patient, there was only one reaction: How light!” said Marco Controzzi, founder of Prensilia. “We achieved the desired level of durability by improving the internal mechanics and the external housing manufactured with HP Multi Jet Fusion technology. This allowed for a combination of rigidity and aesthetic surface finish.” Controzzi also sees the ability to iterate quickly as a major advantage of HP Multi Jet Fusion technology. “A very important advantage of 3D printing for technological frontier products like ours is the ability to offer updated versions to customers,” said Controzzi.

Source: www.drukarki3dhp.pl
Photo: www.drukarki3dhp.pl

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