Dental technology demands zero-defects production! “Fundamentally, dental milling machines are no different from normal CNC milling machines”, says Dr.-Ing. Michael Kreis, who heads Datron AG’s technology centre in Mühltal-Traisa near Darmstadt. The METAV 2012 in Düsseldorf will be showcasing the entire spectrum of equipment involved. At the “Metal meets Medical” special show, vendors of machines, tools, metrological instruments and software will be showing that the dental process chain is alive and kicking.
Example of machining for a cobalt-chromium blank.
Manufacturing dental prostheses is a highly sophisticated form of individualised mass production. “In Germany alone”, estimates Datron’s expert Dr.-Ing. Michael Kreis, “more than 20 million crowns were manufactured in 2010. That means 20 million customised workpieces, since hardly any two teeth are identical.” To enable this diversity of shapes and materials to be manufactured cost-efficiently in a dependable process, users have to be guaranteed zero-defects production from the very first run.
Dedicated machine …and solution
If you “want to tackle a market like medical kit or dental technology properly”, says Michael Kreis, “then you can’t do it just as a sideline”. This is why in 2008/2009 the company decided to develop a dental machine specifically tailored to the market’s needs. Datron had always been “pretty broadly diversified”, and was already at home in many different markets: CNC machining in the electronics and plastics industries, from aerospace and automotive applications all the way through to medical technology. On the basis of this sectoral knowledge, the requirements of the dental market were now analysed, and factored into the development work for the Datron D5 dental milling machine. By March 2011, the innovation was already being showcased at the world’s biggest dental trade fair in Cologne.
Open systems in a complete process chain
Most of the traditional CAD/CAM solutions used for dental technology were closed systems. The market, however, is increasingly insistent on open systems, although these are more difficult for users to master. “This is why”, explains Michael Kreis, “we are offering the entire process chain involved: from the scanner, the CAD/CAM software, the machine, the tools, all the way through to the material being used, though this comes from cooperating partners”.
Easy to use
“In the case of our process chain”, explains Michael Kreis, “the data are streamed from the CAM computer via a network directly onto the machine, which then finds this job in its job library”. This means the user gets detailed information on whether the supply status at the machine is assured (tools, coolants, workpieces), and only when all the lights are green there can he actually start the job concerned – and this in hidden time. This means you can be milling one particular job and simultaneously be managing additional jobs at the control panel or loading new workpieces.
An important sales platform and indicator
The METAV, adds Michael Kreis, “has always been a very important fair for us. On the national and European markets, particularly, it’s a vital sales platform and an indicator for how the year is beginning. The special event themed around ‘Metal meets Medical’ means that the fair is all the more important for us, in that by developing our dental milling machine we have made a successful start on the market for medical technology, and will continue to upgrade our corporate capabilities in this field”.
Thanks to author: Walter Frick, specialist journalist from Weikersheim