Dental 3D printer manufacturer, Structo, has entered into a strategic partnership with uLab Systems, an orthodontic treatment planning software developer, in a bid to streamline clear aligner manufacturing.
Announced at the AAO 2019 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, the two companies are set to collaborate on the delivery of various aligner manufacturing solutions to different segments of the market. Going forward, Structo’s dental-specific DentaForm 3D printer will be integrated with uLab’s uDesign aligner treatment planning software and form part of uLab’s uPrint ecosystem which allows clinicians to print aligner models in-office.
Joe Breeland, uLab’s Chief Commercial Officer commented: “DentaForm’s high throughput capabilities of printing up to 10 arches in 30 minutes is exactly what existing uLab customers need to help them with their in-office aligner manufacturing.”
The partners are also planning on working on a number of additional solutions involving Structo’s Velox desktop 3D printer and the scalable, automated Elements system designed for high volume applications.
“Our vision for Elements is to build application-specific modules that can streamline every single dental appliance manufacturing process,” Dhruv Sahgal, Structo’s Chief Commercial Officer explained. “The first of such modules we are currently working on is a solution for the orthodontic clear aligner application to automate the vacuum forming and trimming processes of the aligners right after the models are printed and post-processed in the production module.”
The Elements system has been engineered as a fully integrated ‘factory in a box’ dental lab solution combining print, wash and cure processes in a single machine. Structo says the system is capable of printing up to 500 dental models per day which it believes will ultimately allow dental professional to lower manufacturing costs and eliminate errors.
Based in Singapore, Structo first introduced its dental 3D printing systems in 2014 with an application-based approach to hardware focusing on dental models and patient-specific devices. Its proprietary MSLA (Mask Stereolithography) technology is said to deliver greater speeds compared to similar SLA-style printers. Its technology is already being leveraged by companies such as German clear dental aligner brand, ClearCaps, which last year reported it was using the DentaForm system to produce around 250 models every 24 hours.