LMT visits 3Shape A/S, located in downtown Copenhagen, Denmark, to learn about the company'' new DentalSystem™ 2009 software, D700 impression scanner and up-and-coming products.
3Shape A/S: you might call it the Google of the dental laboratory industry. Just like Google, the company was started by two ambitious graduate students--Tais Clausen and Nikolaj Deichmann--when they were both in their 20s and has quickly grown into a worldwide powerhouse in its field.
In just nine years, 3Shape A/S has become a leader in 3D scanners and CAD/CAM software solutions, first revolutionizing hearing aid manufacturing and now the dental laboratory profession (click here to see LMT's article from the June/July issue for more details). "For the years to come our main focus will continue to be the dental industry. We want to offer complete digital dental solutions globally," explains Flemming Thorup, president and CEO. This mission is well underway, as the company has thousands of dental customers in 55 countries.
3Shape concentrates on what it knows best: scanners and software. "All of our technology is based on optimizing five parameters: scan speed, accuracy, ease of use, stability and flexibility," says Nikolaj Deichmann, CFO and co-founder. "We've just launched a new version of our scanning and CAD software, DentalSystem 2009, that offers a wider range of indications, including inlays, onlays, veneers and full contour zirconia." Other new features include crown automation, pre-programmed and customizable anatomical libraries, free-form tools for design flexibility and split-file design options for pressed ceramic restorations.
"This software is more intuitive and, for the first time with our software, the technician is able to design the crown, abutment and coping all at once, ensuring there is sufficient room for each element," says Tais Clausen, CTO and co-founder. "The design time for a single molar is three to five minutes and for the first time it is possible to create highly esthetic anteriors." (click here for more details on the new software.)
The company has also recently introduced the new D700 scanner that enables the technician to scan impressions as well as models. 3Shape's patented Adaptive Impression scanning technology ensure fast full coverage scans even for incisor preparations. The technician can create a virtual model from the impression scan and the physical model can then be fabricated by milling or 3D printing equipment. "The scanner features two cameras with reduced angle that accurately scan impressions and deep inlays--areas where a single camera is often blinded. The 3-axis motion system facilitates easy object placement, full undercut scanning and Adaptive Impression scanning," says Clausen.
An open system that's sold through about 10 dealers in the U.S., 3Shape's scanner and software output to a variety of options from different manufacturers, including milling machines, wax printers and model-making machines. Its new CAMBridge™ software automatically prepares the completed design for the selected material and corresponding manufacturer's milling or printing equipment.
Known for Innovation
3Shape recently became Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 in the Innovation category in Denmark. This is the third time the company has been honored with this award, which recognizes innovation, leadership, state-of-the art products, international network and clear strategy to pursue continuous growth. In that vein, 3Shape has a few other product developments in the works:
3Shape's Face Scanning solution: This is a communication tool that scans a patient's face, teeth and model, then combines them into one 3-D image. 3Shape software allows the patient to view before-and-after 3-D photos, and the dentist can update the C&B treatment plan while the patient is in the chair and get a prep guide. The restorations are then manufactured by milling glass ceramic or by outputting them in wax and then pressing.
Orthodontic Applications: The company offers an upgrade for the D700 scanner that can be used for digital archiving, analysis and planning of the orthodontic treatment. This Orthodontics System is also available as stand-alone. The included OrthoAnalyzer software enables labs to generate virtual setups customized to the dentist's preferences, as well as giving the dentist the ability to easily communicate treatment plans to the patient, archive patient records and digital models, thus eliminating the need to store plaster models.
Check out: 7 Key Features of the 3Shape Dental System 2009