ClearCaps, a dental aligner brand founded in Germany, has adopted Mask Stereolithography (MSLA)-powered 3D printers from Structo, a Singapore-based dental 3D printing solutions provider, to significantly increase its production.
Structo’s DentaForm 3D printers, which surpass the limitations of current SLA technology, can print 10 clear aligner models in 30 minutes, a throughput rate not previously attainable for ClearCaps manufacturing operations.
“To meet our high quality, high volume manufacturing requirements, we look for a printer that can deliver the throughput we require over time as we rapidly increase our production volumes,” said Jesse Bartels, Chief Unbrace Officer at ClearCaps
“When we came across Structo’s impressive MSLA technology more than 2 years ago, we decided to get on board.”
MSLA over SLA technology
Structo’s DentaForm allows ease of maintenance and maintains a large build platform – two critical factors that Bartels sought after when looking to expand ClearCaps’ range of 3D printers.
DentaForm’s MSLA technology uses an LED light source to emit uniform and collimated light toward a liquid crystal film LCD photomask layer. This layer controls which parts of the resin in the printer is exposed to light. The resin along the exposed section of the XY axis is then cured with fixed precision.
Using this process, ClearCaps can print complex models at a larger and quicker rate than a standard SLA 3D printer.
“We are now printing around 250 models every 24 hours cycle. To know that the MSLA printers can handle that volume and still have room for more, that helps us scale our manufacturing and expand our market reach rapidly,” added Bartels.
ClearCaps also use 3D software for treatment planning for its patients.
Growing demand for dental additive manufacturing
Dental 3D printing is a common industrial use for additive manufacturing; according to Dhruv Sahgal, Head of Business Development at Structo, the clear dental aligner market has doubled in growth. With Structo’s DentaForm 3D printer, ClearCaps can meet the increasing demands of production volumes within its manufacturing facilities.
“Looking at the way the industry is growing, we are projected for significant growth in the coming years. With the help of Structo, we will continue to deliver superior product offerings the market needs. We are barely scratching the surface at the moment,” said Bartels.
Last year, Structo and Materialise, the 3D printing software solutions provider, released the Printworks Pro software. Optimised for 3D printing on Liquid Crystal Dynamic MSLA printers, this software streamlines the process from the raw input data obtained from dental scanners, making it suitable for printing.
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Featured image shows 3D printed dental aligners. Photo via Structo.