3D printing company Carbon unveiled an integrated technology platform for the dental market last week at the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany.
The platform combines software, hardware and materials in an end-to-end solution designed to meet the needs of dental and orthodontic labs and enable them to scale quickly and economically, according to the Redwood City, Calif. company. Carbon also debuted its new M2d printer for mid-sized dental and orthodontic labs with lower volume needs, as well as its L1 Production Solution for high-volume production of clear aligner models. And it announced a new dental resins and a materials initiative for creating recyclable dental models.
Software updates include:
- Validated workflows designed for compatibility with leading CAD/CAM software for dental practices and labs, such as 3Shape, exocad and AvaDent.
- Auto-nesting (and auto-packing and auto-queuing for thermoforming) capabilities for an efficient and integrated workflow.
- Real-time data analytics on throughput.
- Over-the-air updates typically every 6-8 week
Updates to Carbon’s hardware include:
- The M2d printer, which has a smaller build area than Carbon’s M2, but which the company said can scale up to the same production capacity as an M2 with a remote software upgrade.
- The Smart Part washer, a connected device for M-series printers designed to automatically clean dental models.
- The C6 cassette, available as an accessory for M2, designed to enable dental labs to do model production and model and die production up to two times faster than current offerings.
Third-party resins debuted at the dental show include:
- Keystone Industries’ KeySplint Soft Clear, exclusively for Carbon, which the company expects to be the first FDA Class-II approved resin for dental splints and night guards.
- Dreve FotoDent Castable for Carbon for removable partial dentures.
- Dreve FotoDent indirect bonding tray for orthodontic applications.
- Dentsply Premium denture resin for premium dentures.
Carbon has released 15 new resins in the last 18 months and also said it will begin an initiative to develop a recyclable resin for dental models.
Carbon is not first to the table with 3D-printed dental products. Align Technology (San Jose, Calif.) has been a pioneer. Align’s Invisalign teeth aligners are made of the company’s virtually invisible SmartTrack material and 3D-printed to custom fit a person’s teeth based on precise 3D digital images. Invisalign is available in more than 90 countries, according to Align’s website.
Carbon dental business GM Brian Ganey told Medical Design & Outsourcing that Carbon’s offering is very different from Align’s.
“The main difference is in the technology,” Ganey said. “They use SLA technology and we use digital light synthesis (DLS) technology. We’re using our foundational technology to produce models at an extraordinarily fast rate of production. We have the ability to print one single patient’s case (30-40 aligners) in one print, in 25 to 30 minutes. Our solution is a complete, comprehensive, end-to-end solution that provides an efficient, integrated workflow.”
Carbon’s 3D printers are based on its proprietary DLS technology which uses stereolithography, in which light converts a photocurable resin into a solid. Carbon’s original intellectual property involves a special window at the bottom of the resin reservoir. The window is transparent to UV light, but it’s also permeable to oxygen. Carbon’s technology drives oxygen intentionally into the very lowest part of the resin pool, saturating the first 30 to 40 microns with oxygen and creating a “dead zone” where polymerization doesn’t take place. The result, according to officials at Carbon, is fast printing with little or no mechanical impact on the growing part.
Carbon has been making inroads in the medical device business in recent years, collaborating with companies including Johnson & Johnson and BD. Last week, it announced new partnerships with Anaxdent (Stuttgart, Germany) and Skillbond (Wycombe, England) to extend its dental operations throughout Europe. Together, the companies will offer training and education courses led by educators from around the world to promote the use of digital manufacturing in the dental industry. The company announced a partnership in January in which Dentsply Sirona (NSDQ:XRAY) will provide denture materials for use on Carbon systems.
“Our groundbreaking software, hardware and materials clearly set us apart in the industry,” Ganey added. “The Carbon Platform also enables our partners to achieve operational excellence, improved workflow and better margins — all made possible by our subscription-based business model and world-class support and training.”