France-based 3D printing company Prodways Group announced the acquisition of Surdifuse-L’Embout Français, a leader in hearing aid technology and specifically in the production of 3D printed custom ear tips for hearing aids.
Through the acquisition deal, Prodways now owns 100% of Surdifuse-L’Embout Français, a company which was formed in 2017 through the merger of Surdifuse and l’Embout Français. The Prodways-owned company has two facilities in Paris and Lyon and relies on 3D printing for roughly half of its custom ear tip production.
Though the amount of the acquisition has not been disclosed, Prodways Group has specified the transaction was settled in cash and that it expects the acquisition to generate revenues upwards of €3 million in 2019. With Surdifuse-L’Embout Français, Prodways is reportedly aiming to become a leader in customized 3D printed ear tips for hearing aids in France and even in Europe.
The hearing aid industry was one of the first segments to be truly transformed by additive manufacturing, as the technology made it easier and more cost efficient to produce custom fitted ear tips for patients. While other industries are still working to industrialize and adopt 3D printing, everything fell together early on in the hearing aid market, enabling manufacturers to utilize and implement the 3D printed medical devices.
“The synergies between these three historic players, under a common brand, will ultimately accelerate the launch of new 3D printed products, strengthen the service offer and customer proximity,” writes Prodways about the strategic acquisition. “The complementary nature of their activities will also enable the Group to achieve critical mass in the hearing protector segment for industry, and accelerate its growth in this buoyant market.”
Looking at the big picture, Prodways says the deal is part of its broader vertical integration strategy and will strengthen its growing medical products division. Within this segment, the company already addresses such applications as 3D printed surgical models, custom orthotics and orthopaedics, custom surgical tools, ceramic bone substitutes and more.