Structo, a dental 3D printing solutions provider, and uLab Systems, creator of an in-office orthodontic treatment planning software, announced a strategic partnership to deliver more tailored in-office orthodontic solutions to clinicians.
The announcement comes ahead of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.
According to a press release, the two companies will collaborate closely to deliver various aligner manufacturing solutions to different segments of the market. First, Structo’s high throughput dental-specific DentaForm 3D printer will be integrated with uLab’s uDesign aligner treatment planning software. This will be rolled out in uLab’s next software update.
DentaForm will reportedly form part of uLab’s uPrint ecosystem of 3D printers that allows clinicians to print their aligner models in-office.
“DentaForm’s high throughput capabilities of printing up to 10 arches in 30 minutes is exactly what existing uLab customers need to help them with their in-office aligner manufacturing,” said Joe Breeland, chief commercial officer at uLab.
In addition, the two companies plan to work on delivering solutions to other segments of the orthodontic market.
“Our teams will also collaborate on new products that will involve the rest of our portfolio,” said Dhruv Sahgal, chief commercial officer at Structo. “On top of our Velox desktop 3D printer, another exciting new solution that we are working on is an aligner specific module for our Elements automated and modular factory in a box.”
Structo Elements, launched earlier this year, is an automated, modular 3D printing system that can print up to 500 models per day. It also reportedly integrates all the post-processing steps in its main production module (print, wash, and cure) and is scalable as the user scales their business.
“Our vision for Elements is to build application-specific modules that can streamline every single dental appliance manufacturing process,” Sahgal said. “The first of such modules we are currently working on is a solution for the orthodontic clear aligner application to automate the vacuum forming and trimming processes of the aligners right after the models are printed and post-processed in the production module.”
According to a press release, these processes are currently done manually which requires investment in human capital that can get costly over time. By automating these, not only will it help Elements users reportedly lower their cost, but it will also remove manufacturing errors and inconsistencies caused by human factors. “To be able to tap on uLab’s expertise in this area ensures that we can deliver on that promise of fully automating the entire aligner manufacturing workflow for our customers,” Sahgal said.
As part of the partnership announcement, Structo and uLab will be offering an AAO-exclusive bundle deal. Any purchase of a Structo DentaForm 3D printer comes with a 30-day free access to the uLab aligner software.