EOS, a leading supplier of laser-sintering systems, will showcase advanced e-Manufacturing solutions for dental crowns, bridges and implants at this year’s International Dental Show (IDS) show taking place in Cologne/Germany. This digitalized manufacturing workflow based on laser-sintering technology saves time on the production of parts characterized by excellent mechanical properties, consistent quality and high detail resolution. Martin Bullemer, Business Development Manager Medical at EOS 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 in automated manufacturing centers via e-Manufacturing with laser-sinter technology. The EOSINT M270 produces cost-efficient and high quality dental restorations by using Direct Metal Laser-Sintering (DMLS). With this production process dental copings and bridges made of CE (CE 0537) certified powder based on CAD data can be developed quickly, enabling a dramatic automation and digitalization shift in the dental industry.
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. 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 better 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 a reduced cost.
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 moldings, of imprecisions in fit as well as during the finishing work, and 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 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.
The technological centerpiece of dental e-Manufacturing is the Direct Metal-Laser Sintering (DMLS) system EOSINT M 270. To manufacture dental restorations based on this additive manufacturing method, the 3D CAD data is sliced into layers. The system runs with an Ytterbium-fiber laser with a nominal output of 200 W. The desired geometry of dental crowns or bridges is produced in layers by selectively fusing metal powder and 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 is 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. EOS owns a large patent portfolio relating to the Laser sintering technology, including rights licensed from BEGO Medical GmbH for the production of dental prostheses and related products using laser-sintering technology.