Formlabs has recently announced the integration of Draft Resin with orthodontic model 3D printing . This material has been named a “groundbreaking material” for rapid orthodontic aligner and retainer production due to the speed at which it can print. Draft Resin not only incorporates being the stiffest material in Formlabs repertoire but also allows users to print up to four times faster than with other available resins. This material enables orthodontic practitioners and labs to combine accuracy in their orthodontic models to fast printing.
Recently, Carestream Dental validated Formlabs’ Form 3D printer for use with the latest version of CS Model+ v5 to give more users the ability to design and print clear aligners in house.
Formlabs was founded in 2011 and now has more than 200 global sales partners, shipping over 70,000 systems to customers around the world. The company gained ‘unicorn’ status in August 2018 when its valuation exceeded $1 billion. Formlabs has identified a clear market for their products that is growing rapidly and requires innovations such as the use of draft resin.
Formlabs Speed Check
Draft Resin is the fastest printing material yet. It is capable of printing a dental model in under 20 minutes and eight models in one hour and 15 minutes. This puts draft resin at a printing rate 4 times faster than the previous go to, Grey resin.
Draft Resin Accuracy and Precision
According to Formlabs, “There’s no need to sacrifice quality for faster print speed. Draft Resin, even printing at speed, produces highly accurate orthodontic models.” They have shown that when printed at 200 microns*, 98% of surfaces are within 100 microns of actual scans. This indicates a higher accuracy than the formerly fastest material, Grey Resin at 160 microns, which delivered 93% accuracy of surfaces within 100 microns. This highly accurate resin prints with a smooth surface finish, making Draft Resin the ideal material for aligner and retainer production.
*A micron rating is used to indicate the ability of a liquid filter to remove contaminants by the size of the particles. For reference a bacteria is 2 microns.
The new resin puts Formlabs Dental LFS 3D printers in the same league as the fastest dental 3D printers on the market that often cost 3-10 times more. The printer also offers larger build volumes and more versatility for indications that require higher resolution.
Additionally, labs will appreciate the production workflow that is designed to minimize labor costs and the massive throughput. Now having the capacity to print over 64 models per working day with a single form.
Digital Dentistry Market Forecast
Rapid prototyping systems, such as 3D printing, are an emerging technology in the automated prosthetics manufacturing market. These systems are distinguished from the older ways of subtractive CAD/CAM milling systems by their fabrication method. CAD/CAM mills produce prosthetic units by milling down a solid piece of ceramic material, whereas rapid prototyping systems, or 3D printers, build a model up layer by layer in an additive process.
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As for the material being used with these 3D printers, resins account for almost 90% of total rapid prototyping system unit sales. Although this segment has already dominated the market, resins are expected to continue to grow throughout a forecasted period up to 2026. The dental 3D printer market is relatively premature and expected to expand into various settings and applications. In-office printing with desktop systems should make strides on the market in the foreseeable future, thereby increasing the demand for resin-indicated systems, where Formlabs may be able to capitalize on this space.