Germany-based dental aligner brand ClearCaps just employed the use of 3D printers to up their production. With their new setup ClearCaps were able to 3D print 250 dental aligner molds within 24 hours. This marks one of the largest medical appliance 3D printing projects in the world.
ClearCaps specializes in clear aligners, so as the name suggests, they make transparent implements. The new DentaForm printers are a major part of these production processes in their manufacturing facilities. ClearCaps has always been an early adopter of modern technologies such as this. They also use 3D software planning and treatment simulations for their patients. In keeping with this high-tech approach, they’ve now adopted a state-of-the-art printing system as well.
The DentaForm 3D printer they use is capable of making 10 clear dental aligner molds in 30 minutes and has a build volume of 200 x 150 x 100 mm. It’s easy to see why ClearCaps gravitated towards this particular system. While 250 clear aligner molds in a day seems like a lot, the company plans to increase its output even further.
Structo’s Mask Stereolithography
Dental 3D printing has always been one of the most common industrial uses for additive manufacturing. Generally, companies use DLP systems such as EnvisionTEC Vida or the Roland DG. While Structo printers also use light curing tech, they work with a system called Mask Stereolithography.
“We always strive to be at the forefront of the latest technology to help us deliver superior treatment outcomes,” explained Jesse Bartels, founder of ClearCaps . “To meet our high quality, high volume manufacturing requirements, we look for a printer that can deliver the throughput we require over time as we rapidly increase our production volumes. When we came across Structo’s impressive MSLA technology more than 2 years ago, we decided to get on board.”
MSLA technology uses utilizes a panel light source array and a digital mask to control which regions in the printing plane are illuminated by the light source below the platform. Wherever it allows light to pass through, the light will strike photocurable resin, thus solidifying to form a layer of the printed object. The process repeats itself till the object is fully printed. The large build platform permits the printing of multiple dental aligner molds all in one go.
Featured image courtesy of Structo and ClearCaps