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Digitalized e-Manufacturing Workflows: Direct Metal Laser-Sintering Technology Enables High Quality Parts, Cost Efficiency And Time Savings

At their booth in hall 9, booth 17, EOS customer 3Dental CAD-CAM S.L. will be showcasing advanced e-Manufacturing solutions for dental crowns and bridges at this year’s Expodental show taking place in Madrid February 23 – 25, 2012. With the EOSINT M 270, 3Dental will showcase its building Direct Metal Laser-Sintering (DMLS) system for advanced dental e-Manufacturing solutions. With this production process dental copings and bridges made of CE (CE 0537) certified powder based on CAD data can be developed within a very short time thus enabling a dramatic automation and digitalization shift in the dental industry. The digitalized manufacturing workflow based on this technology results in substantial time savings as well as parts that are characterized by excellent mechanical properties, a constant quality and a high detail resolution. José Luiz Sánchez Rubio, CEO at 3Dental is convinced that “cost control as well as flexible and rapid product cycles will determine the future of the dental industry. Manufacturing with laser-sintering can offer all of this.”  During the past year, about 1.5 million individual dental copings and bridges were manufactured worldwide in automated manufacturing centres with the EOS laser-sinter technology.

From casting to laser-sintering: industrializing the dental industry

Dental restorations have long been conventionally produced primarily from metal through the use of casting techniques. Currently, though, dental technology is undergoing a radical shift and a process of industrialization that has already taken place in other markets. Today, the use of digital dental technology is on the rise and manufacturing processes are being automated. Using the conventional casting production process, a dental technician can currently produce only about 20 dental frames per day. Laser-sintering is a significantly superior method: one fully-automated laser-sintering system can produce approximately 450 high-quality units of dental crowns and bridges within 24 hours. This corresponds to a production speed of approximately three minutes per unit on an average, making laser-sintering a true industrial process ensuring high productivity at reduced costs.

High quality products, cost efficiency and time savings

By digitalizing the work steps, it is possible to weed out error sources from the assessment of the patient to the production in the lab and to guarantee consistent high quality. This reduces the risk of incorrect preparation or mouldings, of imprecisions in fit as well as during the finishing work or costly repetitions. Digital in data generation, laser-sintering at the same time enables a high reproducibility of production properties and a patient-specific serial production. At the same time, this technology is much more cost effective than conventional precision casting. As such, the software supported workflow enables reduced processing times, permitting the dental technician to concentrate on the vital peripheral processing steps of value creation such as aesthetic and function-orientated ceramic veneering.

Technological centrepiece of dental e-Manufacturing: EOSINT M 270    

The technological centrepiece of dental e-Manufacturing is the Direct Metal-Laser Sintering (DMLS) system EOSINT M 270. The system runs with an Ytterbium-Fibre–Laser with a nominal output of 200W. By selectively fusing metal powder, the desired geometry of dental crowns or bridges – based on 3D CAD data of the dental restorations – develops layer by layer during the production process with the possibility of integrating identification tags. After production has been completed, supports can easily be removed. Since operating a DMLS system requires personnel only for loading and unpacking the machine, two production cycles per day can be executed.
For the manufacture of dental crowns and bridges, the EOSINT M 270 processes a special cobalt chromium molybdenum-based super alloy, EOS Cobalt Chrome SP2. It is biocompatible and CE-certified for use in the dental industry (CE 0537). This well established material has seen considerable demand in recent years and is very inexpensive compared to precious metal alloys. The quick solidification after melting leads to a fine and homogenous microstructure whereas during the casting there is always a risk of overheating and segregation.
José Luiz Sánchez Rubio adds: „With the DMLS systems we can achieve high precision prostheses with highly reproducible properties. In addition to this, we talk about a controlled process here – production parameters are established and well documented.”

About 3Dental CAD-CAM S.L.

3Dental CAD-CAM S.L. was found in 2008, building on more than 10 years of dental laboratory experience. Nowadays, 3Dental is a leading provider of CAD-CAM dental solutions in Spain, specializing in offering laser sintered dental units in CoCr with its two M270-Dental machines.

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