3D System’s Strategy Continues to Unfold

By on February 23rd, 2018 in printer

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 The NextDent 5100 from 3D Systems
The NextDent 5100 from 3D Systems

When we wrote on 3D Systems’ strategy a few days ago, we didn’t realize it would unfold this quickly.

The 3D printing giant announced today a new product that epitomizes their new strategy, which rests on effectively combining machine, software and material. The new NextDent 5100 seems to involve all these aspects and more. 

What is it, exactly? It is a combination of 3D Systems elements that forms an effective solution for digital dentistry, in which personalized dental devices are produced. 

Let’s see how this new device fits into 3D Systems’ strategy.

For hardware, the NextDent 5100 leverages the company’s Figure 4 concept, which up to now we’ve only seen as a prototype or concept. Here they package it into a solution for a specific vertical industry. We’ve always known the company wished to apply the highly productive concept to industry, but here we are with the first instance of doing so. 

The Figure 4-powered system offers apparently four times the the print speed of their prior business solutions, demonstrating the effectiveness of the Figure 4 concept. 

For software, the NextDent 5100 is said to integrate directly with popular 3D dental scanners often used in that industry. This should make it significantly easier for non-technical dental operations to fit it into existing workflows. 

Finally, how does the NextDent 5100 fit into the materials leg of the strategy? Let’s hear what 3D Systems has to say about that:

The NextDent 5100 is complemented by a portfolio of 30 unique NextDent resins – the largest number available from any dental material supplier. Offered in a variety of aesthetic colors, these materials enable dental labs and clinics to provide finished products that closely match the patient’s own teeth and gums. All NextDent dental 3D printing materials are biocompatible and CE-certified, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. The materials are certified in accordance with medical device directive 93/42/EEC, listed at the FDA and also registered in various other countries.

So it seems they’ve hit all three strategic elements with this dental solution, and that is what should make it attractive to dental businesses. What this approach does is remove friction to use the technology. By integrating the three elements, 3D Systems should make it very easy to adopt. 

And there’s another critical factor that will definitely affect adoption: the system price. 

The NextDent 5100 is priced at less than USD$10,000, with a release scheduled for later this year. That is a surprisingly low price, with several competing dental systems priced at 5-10x as much. 

Low pricing will almost certainly make this a very attractive option. 

While this is a single new product in a particular industry vertical, one wonders what 3D Systems may come up with next as they apply their strategy in different areas. When we spoke with CEO Vyomesh Joshi earlier this year, he indicated they would proceed “application by application”. This could be their first step, with many to come. 

Via 3D Systems

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!