Have you found yourself with the opportunity or challenge of how to evaluate a new 3D Printing technology for use in your lab? Our COO, Leah Morris, shares tips in her 18+ years in the dental lab.
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Three tips for evaluating 3D printing technology
In the past, professionals in the dental industry have been apprehensive about implementing new digital workflows and technology, fearing that it will replace them. On the contrary, we have always seen our technology as a way to increase accuracy and increase production without decreasing staff. You need experienced staff that have working knowledge to actually run things. Leverage technology to provide your doctors with amazing results with faster turnaround time, and with the same number of people.
- Keep up with what the market is offering.
Be curious. Stay involved with the market. Our motto is “no closed doors.” Explore what’s coming out and find out how you can best utilize the technologies that you already have in a new way. See if a new technique or process can save time and money. One of our favorite places to learn about new technology is at the LMT Lab Day Chicago annual event due to the variety of exhibitors and lectures with a strong dental lab focus. Additionally, we attend the Chicago Dental Society-Annual Midwinter Meeting to have a look at what is being marketed to the dentists and oral surgeons that are our customers in an effort to keep an eye of what will be expected and asked of us moving forward. Understanding our customers’ evolving needs helps us keep ahead of the game in this rapidly growing market.
- Consider your use case.
Ask yourself what your end case is and what you actually want to make. Our lab is technology driven, but also service oriented. We evaluate the fit of technology for the application. For example, we selected the J5 DentaJet for model production for its print capacity, reliability and ease of use. Because one printer is never the be-all, end-all, consider how the new technology fits your needs and how it will aid your production and affect the technicians who will use its output as well as how it much work it is to use.
- Look for support.
If a printer goes down and you can’t get support, the printer is useless. Find a partner who will work with you to keep your printer up and running and are able and available to train you to properly maintain the machine. Manufacturers who invest in their technology, continue to innovate, improve their software, or expand their material offering increase potential return on investment. You want to make sure your technology can be depended on to hit deadlines and costs as well as scale with your lab as it grows.