Medical & Dental

XJet and Straumann partner to scale up ceramic Additive Manufacturing for dentistry

Material jetting specialist XJet has announced a global partnership with dentistry leader Straumann to advance the capabilities of its AM technology for dentistry applications. The duo intends to develop the XJet Carmel 1400 system currently used at the Straumann headquarters in Basel, Switzerland to begin producing end-use ceramic parts.

Stephan Oehler, VP at Straumann, explains: “We’ve been working with XJet NanoParticle Jetting technology for some time, up to now it has been used for developing product iterations and providing proof of concept. Now we’re scoring the first product development project to reach the next level of bringing this technology to the production of ceramic end-use parts.”

XJet CEO, Hanan Gothait (left), and Straumann VP, Stephan Oehler, cut the ribbon at the grand opening of XJet’s AM Center. Photo via XJet.
XJet CEO, Hanan Gothait (left), and Straumann VP, Stephan Oehler, cut the ribbon at the grand opening of XJet’s AM Center. Photo via XJet.

Ceramic scalability

Straumann believes the machine has a number of features that give it great potential for scalability. The large print bed enables high throughput while the soluble support capabilities allow dental professionals to work on providing great dental care as they are not stuck with a mountain of manual post-processing. Strausmann recognized this early on and was one of the first companies to invest in XJet’s jetting technology, becoming an early adopter of ceramic AM in the process. The dental company has since become well-versed with the benefits of AM, citing design freedom and the ability to fabricate complex geometries as key factors in its decision to further the partnership.

Philippe Chavanne, Head of the New Technology Competence Center at Straumann, adds: “We work with ceramic in a lot of our products, so when we learned there was a new technology in the field, we looked into it. XJet convinced us with the quality of parts, the fine details and accuracy. In addition to that, the density of the material is extremely high, close to 100%, so it’s not like working with an ‘AM material’.”

The XJet Carmel 1400 3D printer. Photo via XJet.
The XJet Carmel 1400 3D printer. Photo via XJet.

Pandemic-proof production

Straumann usually develops and supplies implants, instruments, biomaterials, prosthetics, and digital equipment but the ongoing pandemic has slowed or completely stopped work on some of these products. The XJet system situated at HQ, however, has been running this whole time. The company attributes this to the simple operation of the system, as employees are able to maintain social distancing while still outputting enough ceramic parts to meet customers’ demands.

Dror Danai, CBO at XJet, concludes: “It’s incredible working with global leaders such as Straumann who are passionate and innovative about the products and services they provide. Working with them to move into production parts is hugely motivating and we’re delighted to see our partnership go from strength to strength.”

The dental sector has benefited greatly from developments in AM – not just in machinery but materials and processes too. Recently, PostProcess Technologies announced a partnership with Great Lakes Dental Technologies, a large orthodontic laboratory in the US, to automate the company’s powder removal and surface finishing process for 3D printed dental aligners. The collaboration hopes to achieve the same results without any of the manpower previously required in post-processing.

Elsewhere, SLA 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs has announced the release of six new resins for use with its Form 3, Form 3B, and Form 2 3D printers – three of which are specifically aimed at dental professionals. The resins each have a unique application within dentistry, namely occlusal guards, custom impression trays, and temporary restorations.

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now.

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Featured image shows the XJet Carmel 1400 3D printer. Photo via XJet.