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Laser Additive Manufacturing Alters Dental Industry

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KRAILING, Germany, March 13, 2013 — EOS, a provider of laser additive manufacturing (LAM) solutions, recently introduced its new removable partial denture (RPD) solution at the 35th International Dental Show. With the AM technology, laboratories and manufacturing service providers can produce high-quality dental crowns and bridges, plastic dental models and removable partial dentures in a highly productive way and at attractive costs per part.

"Currently, an industrialization process is changing the dental industry in a sustained manner. The EOS technology process contributes to an automation and digitalization of manufacturing processes. With AM via laser sintering, digital technologies have become established in several fields of dentistry and are already a firm part of the industry. Laser-sintered dental prostheses have almost completely replaced precision casting in some countries," says Martin Bullemer, business development manager, medical, at EOS.

Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) has been available to produce crowns and bridges since 2005. DMLS manufacturing systems as well as materials are well established in the dental market, with more than 60 installed systems worldwide. Around 6.8 million units are currently being produced with these systems every year.

With these systems, up to 450 dental crowns and bridges can be cost-efficiently manufactured in 24 hours. This corresponds to an average building time of around three minutes per unit. The final product is characterized by a homogeneous metallic structure with high precision and constant tolerances, enabling a good fitting and reproducible properties.

Following the manufacturing process, the dental prosthesis only has to be separated from the platform, and a dental technician subsequently further finishes it. The system can run up to two production cycles per day and can manufacture up to 80,000 units per year. The AM of dental prostheses is an industrial production process and, thanks to the high productivity of the system, the production costs decrease, while the quality of the final products remains consistently high.

As for the manufacturing of dental restorations, 3-D data are already available — custom-fit dental models can be produced on the plastic laser sintering systems, which then serve as the basis for the further processing and veneering of the restorations by the dental technician.

Source: industrial-lasers.com, © 2013, PennWell Corp.

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