Entering the future with a full digital Orthodontic workflow
By transforming orthodontic model manufacturing into a digital workflow using 3D printing system from Objet and 3D scanning and CAD solutions from 3Shape, Ortholine has reduced its operation costs significantly while also producing even better products for its customers.
Ortholine® provides a wide variety of specialty products, such as functional and removable appliances, retainers, space maintainers, clear aligners, snoring appliances, TMJ splints, sport protectors and more. A major part of their services includes provision of study models to clinics for treatment planning and assessment. With such a broad spectrum of services and positive signs from the market, Ortholine found itself in an optimal position for initiating growth. But in order to grow, Ortholine® needed to streamline its business. The company required a system that could enable faster throughput without compromising its high standards and without costly expansion of their technician staff and facilities
While the increasing numbers of case orders was good news for Ortholine’s business, it also meant that they needed to find more storage space for their models. Orthodontic appliances are often lost or damaged during the course of treatment, so, as part of its services, Ortholine would painstakingly label and store individual product models in the event they might be needed for making replacements. This not only required adequate physical storage space, but also expensive man-hours and technician- time away from client cases. Naturally, Ortholine was not the only company in an upbeat market, and competition was becoming increasingly intense. To maintain an edge, it was important to keep production costs down in order to offer services at the most competitive prices.
Ortholine opted to go for full CAD/CAM digital in-house production that would streamline every aspect of its workflows, from receiving the patient’s initial dental impression, creating study models and all the way to CAM manufacturing. Ortholine chose 3Shape’s Ortho System for creating and working with models digitally, and Objet’s Eden 260V™ 3D printing system for model and appliance manufacturing. 3Shape’s Ortho System™ included the R700™ 3D scanner and the OrthoAnalyzer™ CAD software. With the R700™ scanner, they can capture both impressions and models, and the software features tools for diagnosis and treatment planning using the digital model. Objet’s 260V 3D printing system provides fine-detail printing, layer thickness and smooth surface output, even inside cavities, which makes it exceptionally suitable for the manufacture of orthodontic models and appliances.
Additional factors cemented Ortholine’s choice. 3Shape’s Ortho System™ helps to communicate directly with orthodontists online regarding specific cases, and contains features for archiving digital models created by the scanner. The Objet Eden 260V™ 3D printing system is exceptionally easy to operate, and its small footprint made it ideal for integrating into their lab. The printing system contains unique automatic-run features that enable it to produce output completely unattended by operators for long periods of time – even over the weekend if needed. To top it all, 3Shape’s Ortho System™ could communicate perfectly with the Objet 260V™ 3D printing system involving extra conversion steps or overhead.
The intuitive tools in 3Shape’s Ortho System™ enabled Ortholine technicians to complete tasks in a fraction of the time it took them through manual methods. They could immediately initiate manufacturing of their digital models on the Objet 260V™ 3D printing system while moving on to the next case. The daily production yield per technician leapfrogged dramatically in a very short time, and Ortholine® could offer its customers appliances and models within short delivery times and at competitive prices. Storage of study models for customers was transformed – no longer a problem, but now an asset. With 3D scanning and the advanced digital archiving features in 3Shape’s Ortho System™, Ortholine® could offer efficient and low-cost storage services for their customers’ models and case histories. Ortholine could additionally provide orthodontists with tools for virtual treatment planning and assessment without a physical model. These opened completely new and profitable business segments while solving facility space problems. Digital storage additionally made it easy to streamline their appliance replacement services, reduce administration costs and store full models completely safe from damage. With the system’s intuitive search functions, rapid case retrieval could be handled by the front desk staff, leaving Ortholine’s technicians free to focus on the core products. Ortholine’s CAD/ CAM investment was rapidly returned through more business, faster throughput, rationalized production and reduced operation costs. The system gave them the freedom to continuously regulate their prices and stay ahead of their competitors on all fronts.