Automating Resin Removal for Dental Applications

3D printing has a myriad of benefits for industries like consumer products, automotive, and aerospace. But additive manufacturing’s (AM) ability to manufacture custom designs with optimal accuracy gives it a special leg up in medical and dental applications. In fact, estimates project the total 3D printing market size for dental to reach $26.1 Billion Dollars this year, due in part to the roughly 50% of dental patients who have not visited the dentist since the start of the pandemic. With such substantial projected growth, it’s imperative for those in the dental AM sector to eliminate bottlenecks from their additive workflows.

Why Additive Manufacturing in Dental?

Dental models are custom for each individual patient. Traditional methods did not allow for customization with high-volume batches. Additive manufacturing is a natural fit for the dental industry because of its ability to manufacture custom designs with optimal accuracy. It allows technicians to print in batches along with the ability to customize each dental appliance. Dentists can then create most of their custom dental models, including dentures, mouth guards, retainers, dentures, custom implants, and crowns.

Dental practitioners can capture a scan of their patient’s mouth and use MCAD software to create the scan data into a solid model. They can then use their technology to align the model and print it in a specialized resin that allows for 60-70 micron accuracy, outperforming the traditional methods. It also decreases the material used by 90%.

The Post-Processing Struggle for Dental Resin Removal

While additive allows dentists to create custom models quickly, bottlenecks can spring up when they use traditional post-printing methods. Traditional methods use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) bath(s) to clean the dental models of excess resin. This can be labor-intensive and time-consuming for technicians. IPA is also a hazardous chemical and can cause environmental concerns because of its low flashpoint. IPA saturates rapidly, meaning labs constantly have to swap it out frequently.

It’s obvious AM for dental/orthodontic appliance development can unlock significant time and cost savings. Traditional post-processing methods can create bottlenecks and obstruct efficiencies. Without an automated post-printing solution, technicians may waste a significant amount of time with dangerous compounds like IPA to remove excess resin, and can even slow down lead times.

One of our customers, Byrnes Dental Lab, demonstrates how PostProcess Technologies™ DEMI 430™ resin removal solution can mitigate the post-printing challenges that many dental 3d printers can face when streamlining their additive workflow. The DEMI 430 allowed them to reduce manual labor and part cycle times. The PLM-403-SUB detergent also lasts 7-10 times longer than IPA, which allows for more machine up-time and less time spent on chemistry changeouts.

Real-World Application: Byrnes Dental Laboratory

Byrnes Dental Lab is a cutting-edge, digital dental lab serving the United Kingdom and Europe. Byrnes Dental is revolutionizing the way the dental industry works with the latest technology for digital dentistry. This means they use the Carbon M2 Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS™) printer for production.

Ashley Byrnes with DEMI 430
Ashley Byrnes pictured with the PostProcess DEMI 430 Resin Removal Solution

But Byrnes encountered a major bottleneck as their demand grew: the traditional resin removal method of IPA dunk tanks would not provide the consistency, repeatability, and predictability that they needed to increase their production volumes. They recently implemented the software intelligent PostProcess® DEMI 430™ to streamline their resin removal process.

The DEMI 430 employs our patented Submersed Vortex Cavitation (SVC) technology to remove excess resin from parts. PostProcess’s proprietary detergents, vortex pumping scheme, and variable ultrasonics combine to remove excess resin. Software intelligence ensures that 3D-printed parts are uniformly, consistently, and reliably exposed to detergent and cavitation as they undergo post-printing.

The results for Byrnes Dental Lab were nearly instantaneous. “The improvement to our production workflow was immediately evident after only three days of use,” said Ashley Byrnes, co-owner of Byrnes Dental Lab.

Additive Manufacturing is a natural fit for the dental industry and will continue to grow and evolve with the industry’s needs. By implementing a post-processing solution, dental application manufacturers can ensure that they’re ready for the growing demand in this flourishing industry.

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