Small series production
Ceramic 3D printing as a production method
3D printing is growing from a technique for prototyping into a very feasible alternative to conventional manufacturing. It is opening up new opportunities for design and simplifying manufacturing of complex and costly parts thus revolutionizing many different industries, such as aerospace, automotive and medical technology. Nevertheless, various questions around 3D printing remain, first and foremost on when it applies. With its huge potential to enable minimizing waste, reducing cost and the flexibility to easily upscale production in one go it is a valuable alternative to traditional production ways.
Dentsply Sirona is one of the world’s largest full-service dental supplier. One application they provide is a support structure used to homogeneously glaze dental implants. This support not only enables high quality finishing but also reduces the time of labor as it is just an easy one-step job without the need for any (sub)assembly.
Looking into ways to further speed up the process, Sirona embraced the potential of 3D printing. As it offers complete design freedom it can be tailored for a specific application, including the addition of complex shapes where needed.
Another important aspect is the necessity of ceramics in the production of the support structure. Since ceramics are resistant to very high temperatures, there is no issue/obstacle for the glazing technique that includes a finishing step in a high-temperature furnace.
The combination of the benefits that 3D printing offers, with the essential product properties that ceramics have, makes it the ideal way of production for the glazing support structure, facilitating mass production of custom-fit items. Dentsply Sirona is a pioneer in this regard, as the expectation is that one-third of all businesses will shift to 3D printing as a manufacturing method over the coming five years.