The newly released IE 600 earphones from Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co KG, Wedemark, Germany, feature housings produced by metal Additive Manufacturing. The purpose of the metal AM housings, which are hand-finished for aesthetics, is to protect the delicate transducer and thus extend the product’s lifespan.
The housings, manufactured by Heraeus AMLOY Technologies GmbH on a TruPrint 2000 Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing machine from Trumpf, are built from Heraeus’s Amloy ZR01. This amorphous zirconium alloy was selected by Sennheiser for its durability – it’s reputedly tougher than high-performance steel – in combination with its aesthetic surface quality.
“Working at the cutting edge of technology is super exciting and knowing that we work on the same materials as the most demanding organisations in the world use – like NASA – is an extremely exciting opportunity,” stated Jermo Köhnke, Product Manager at Sennheiser. “It always makes your heart jump if you’re an engineer – or just a tech fan.”
Heraeus Amloy ZR01 is said to have triple the hardness and flexural strength of high-performance steel. Shock-frozen during manufacturing, amorphous metals never have a chance to form a crystalline structure like conventional metals. The additively manufactured chambers and channels require no milling after production. Post-processing operations include steel shot blasting, polishing and surface treatment, resulting in an extremely durable and wear-resistant component. Previously, this advanced material was trialled by NASA for ice cutting on one of Jupiter’s moons.
Jürgen Wachter commented, “Amorphous alloys are an extraordinary new class of materials. Our high-tech AMLOY ZR01 is used in components for aerospace and MedTech applications that require ultra-high precision and robustness. We are proud that Sennheiser evaluated our space-grade amorphous alloy and decided to use it for the IE 600.”
The IE 600 earphones are now available for purchase.