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3D Systems to Conquer Dental and Move onto Every Other Vertical

 3D Systems' dental strategy - and more

3D Systems' dental strategy - and more

At LMT Lab Day Chicago 2018, 3D Systems showcased the first official industry-specific instantiation of its Figure 4 3D-printing technology. 

Meant to be a paragon example that can be expanded within the dental space and extrapolated to other verticals, the NextDent 5100 is a standalone Figure 4 machine that 3D Systems hopes will revolutionize the dental industry.

ENGINEERING.com spoke to 3D Systems CEO Vyomesh Joshi and Rik Jacobs, CEO of NextDent, which was acquired by 3D Systems last year, who described the vision behind this latest product and its implications for the company’s broader strategy.

Four Times Faster for Less than $10K

NextDent takes 3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology, with its layerless printing and quick speeds, and applies it to the dental space. While Figure 4 was unveiled as a product line with various configurations, the NextDent 5100 represents a standalone unit. In other words, at launch, this system is not configured in such a way that it will feature automated post-processing and other stations.

That doesn’t mean that those possibilities aren’t in the works. Joshi explained that though the NextDent 5100 is more suited for smaller dental labs, “some labs are going to buy the mass production Figure 4, with more imaging engine, robotics and post processing in line.”

For a standalone machine, however, the system already is quite competitive with the growing 3D dental industry. For instance, the closest comparable machine may be the MicroPlus cDLM, from EnvisionTEC, which also features a very quick, continuous digital light processing (DLP) approach. While this system is billed at approximately $35,000, NextDent is being sold for just $10,000.

Even without the speed, resolution and physical properties possible with continuous DLP—there are no layer lines and parts isotropic with the technology—the system competes with other DLP and stereolithography (SLA) printers targeted at the dental market. The XFab from DWS, for example, is among the most affordable at $5,000. The Form 2 from Formlabs is $3,500.

However, the NextDent 5100 does have these capabilities. Thanks to the acquisition of NextDent by 3D Systems, it also has 30 materials and 11 dental indications for which it can be used.

Read more at ENGINEERING.com

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