According to market research firm Key Group, Formlabs is the most installed 3D printer for all sizes of dental labs. The global company currently provides professional 3D printing hardware and digital fabrication services across a range of industries from healthcare, including dental and audiology, to entertainment and education.
Doubling down on its current dental offerings, last week Formlabs announced the launch of Formlabs Dental. The new business unit, comprised of a team of dental professionals, will serve the dental vertical with Formlabs’ new Form 3B printer and platform.
The Form 3B is able to print using the latest generation of seven dental materials and can create devices for over ten dental applications, including:
- Crown and bridge models
- Clear aligner and retainer models
- Diagnostic models
- Surgical guides
- Occlusal splints
- Patterns for casting and pressing
- Dentures with 4 base and 6 tooth shades
According to Formlabs CEO and Co-Founder Max Lobovsky, “Our new Form 3B printer is uniquely tailored to seamlessly digitize, streamline and expedite workflow so dentists and technicians can focus on providing patients with the outcomes they expect and deserve.” On the shift towards in-office printing facilitated by Formlabs’ technology, Dr. Jay Burton, Board Certified Orthodontist at SmileMaker Orthodontics, adds, “Since launching the Form 2, 3D printing adoption within the dental industry has increased significantly… Today’s announcement of the Form3B will continue to grow the technology’s adoption and help to provide dental products you’d be proud to deliver.”
On the service side of Formlabs Dental, the business unit will leverage its team of dental professionals to offer a new Formlabs Dental Service Plan. The plan includes personalized in-person and video training, priority multichannel support, and printer hot swapping to ensure continuous production.
As part of the announcement, Formlabs also announced its Formlabs Materials Partner Platform specifically for the Form B. The platform allows third-party manufacturers to bring new materials to market by making them available as part of the Form 3B’s suite of compatible materials.
To learn more about Formlabs’ announcement and multiple new offerings, Medgadget heard from Sam Wainwright, Dental Product Manager at Formlabs.
Medgadget: Let’s start with a little bit of background. When did Formlabs enter the healthcare market and which areas in healthcare does Formlabs service today?
Sam Wainwright: Formlabs entered the dental market in 2016 and the healthcare market in 2017. Formlabs 3D printers are utilized across the healthcare and dental industry. Some examples include:
- Dental: 13 million dental parts, including dentures, clear aligners, and restorative models, have been printed on Formlabs printers.
- Surgical Planning Models and Instruments: With Formlabs, the Mayo Clinic is leveraging 3D printing technology to improve accuracy and efficiency in the operating room. A worldwide leader in healthcare, Mayo Clinic is creating detailed 3D-printed models of body parts to help surgeons better plan operations, meaning less time spent in the operating room and lower risk of complications.
- Medical Research: Dr. Pashneh-Tala from Sheffield University is researching the fabrication of blood vessels in unique geometries for use in surgery. Dr. Pashnem-Tala used Formlabs’ printers to design and create blood vessel molds from the custom Biodegradable Polymer Emulsion scaffold material he and his team developed.
- Insoles and Orthotics: Formlabs helped one engineer create custom orthoses for his son with cerebral palsy at a fraction of the cost of traditional orthotics. With the custom, affordable orthotics, his son was able to walk and play with ease never thought possible.
- Hearables: Formlabs is helping companies like The Listening Stack and Universal dB streamline their production process to get patients the hearing aids they need faster, cheaper and customized to fit their unique ear.
The common thread across all of these use cases is dental and healthcare professionals looking for a better way to improve care for their patients. Formlabs provides these innovative professionals with the means to provide personalized, precision healthcare to all of their patients.
Medgadget: What proportion of Formlabs’ healthcare clients are in dental, who are those dental clients, and what kind of applications do those clients use Formlab platforms to print today?
Wainwright: Roughly one-third of Formlabs business is from the dental and medical vertical. The launch of the Form 3B and Dental Business Unit is a strengthened commitment to the market. With the Formlabs platforms, dental practices, labs, and orthodontists are able to digitize their workflow to create precision, reliable results for their patients faster and at a lower cost. Dental users use Formlabs printers to create restorative models, clear aligner and retainer models, diagnostic models, surgical guides, occlusal splints, patterns for casting and pressing, and dentures.
Medgadget: Why is Formlabs forming the new dental business unit? What does the move mean in terms of Formlabs’ ability to offer solutions to the dental market?
Wainwright: Formlabs has launched the dental unit to better serve its customers through more tailored, robust training that is customized to better enhance the workflows and models they will be utilizing most. The dental business unit is made up of a team of dental professionals dedicated to providing the best 3D printing solutions in the industry. They are doing this with new hardware, materials, and a Dental Service Plan that supports self-serve learning pathways and specialized training, provides priority email and phone support with dental specialists, and facilitates hot swapping printers for nonstop production.
Medgadget: How has the ability for a dentist to print a dental product at the point of care changed the experience of care for patients seeking dental treatment?
Wainwright: When patients visit the dentist they want a fast, customized solution for their teeth. The Form 3B printer is uniquely tailored to seamlessly digitize, streamline, and expedite workflow so dentists, orthodontists, and dental technicians can focus on providing patients with the outcomes they expect and deserve. Formlabs has already touched the lives of over hundreds of thousands of patients, having printed 13 million dental parts on the Form 2 and, with the launch of the Form 3B, aim to expand that reach even further to ensure all dental care providers can bring an exceptional level of attention to their patients
Medgadget: Tell us a little about the new Form 3B. What new capabilities does the Form 3B bring over Formlabs’ other platforms for the dental market?
Wainwright: The Form 3B is an advanced desktop 3D printer optimized for dental applications and workflows. When compared to the Form 3, the Form 3B enables the user to print with biocompatible materials, has finely-tuned settings for biocompatible applications, has optional software and firmware updates for quality controlled workflows, and has a dental-specific service plan that can be bundled with the printer. The Form 3B will serve as the primary platform for future dental and biocompatible applications development.