Structo & uLab Systems Partner to Streamline Clear Aligner Manufacturing

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Structo, a dental 3D printing solutions provider and uLab Systems, creator of innovative in-office orthodontic treatment planning software, announced a strategic partnership to deliver more tailored in-office orthodontic solutions to clinicians at the AAO 2019 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

The two companies which are heavily focused on orthodontics will collaborate closely to deliver various aligner manufacturing solutions to the different segments of the market. First, Structo’s high throughput dental-specific DentaForm 3D printer will be integrated with uLab’s uDesign aligner treatment planning software. This will be rolled out in uLab’s next software update.

3D printed aligners

Above: Structo’s DentaForm 3D Printer/Image Credit: Structo

DentaForm will form part of uLab’s uPrint ecosystem of 3D printers that allow clinicians to print their aligner models in-office to prepare for vacuum forming and trimming in the next steps. “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,” said Joe Breeland, uLab’s Chief Commercial Officer.

“We are proud to be part of this exciting new partnership with uLab and we are looking forward to collaborating further to deliver more solutions to the orthodontics market,” Dhruv Sahgal, Structo’s Chief Commercial Officer added. On top of the integration of the DentaForm, the two orthodontic companies will also work on delivering solutions for other segments of the market. “Our teams will also collaborate on new products that will involve the rest of our portfolio. On top of our Velox desktop 3D printer, another exciting new solution that we are working on is an aligner specific module for our Elements automated and modular factory in a box.”

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The Structo Elements, launched in Chicago earlier this year is an automated, modular 3D printing system that can print up to 500 models per day. It also integrates all the post-processing steps in its main production module (Print, wash and cure) and is scalable as the user scales their business. “Our vision for Elements is to build application-specific modules that can streamline every single dental appliance manufacturing process,” Dhruv explains.

“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,” adds Dhruv.

Currently, these processes are done manually which requires investment in human capital that can get costly over time. By automating these, not only it will help Elements users lower their cost, but it will also remove manufacturing errors and inconsistencies caused by human factors. “To be able to tap on uLab’s expertise in this area ensures that we can deliver on that promise of fully automating the entire aligner manufacturing workflow for our customers,” Dhruv adds.

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