Automation isn’t just for big dental labs

November 13, 20233 minute read

Whether you've just bought the first 3D printer for your dental lab or you already have an entire fleet, you should be thinking about a dental production platform for all your machines. Any dental lab, no matter the size, can benefit from software that automates workflows, connects the production and is accessed via the cloud.

For smaller labs, dental production software makes it easy to get started because these platforms allow labs to benefit from built-in experience. In other words, smaller labs can operate at a higher experience level with a relatively short learning curve. The software provides pre-validated settings based on industry best practices, and the lab can get help with other questions from customer support. Whether a lab is small or big, any cost savings are a plus.

In addition, small labs are creating workflows that can easily be scaled up as they add machines and receive more orders. When labs start taking on larger volumes, dental production software can deliver even bigger benefits. At RPD-frame manufacturer Bertram Dental Lab, for example, it used to take three technicians a full day to add supports to batches of 3D-printed RPD frames. With the help of automation, the same process now takes one person a few hours.

Dental Automation Oqton

US orthodontic lab ODL used dental production software to automate the hollowing of 3D build stacks of resin-based aligners. This simple step prevented the solid stacks from generating too much heat, which had previously triggered a printing slowdown in order to maintain safe operating temperatures. As a result, ODL saved 30 minutes per print job and $100 per day in resin costs.

Even dental labs with fully automated digital workflows can gain an advantage from dental production software. Starting in 2021, for example, dental labs based in the EU have had to work within the Medical Devices Regulations, which require total lifecycle traceability for all stages of medical device development. In other words, dental labs increasingly need to be able to demonstrate the traceability of every product they make.

Dental white paper Oqton

Dental production software makes it easy for labs to achieve full traceability, establishing a digital data thread for all parts in production. Essentially, the software creates a unique identifier for every product starting from when it originates as an order, then carries that identifier through design, manufacturing, post-processing and delivery. All of the relevant data for that product is attached to this same identifier automatically, making traceability compliance much more convenient.

Discover how dental labs are already leveraging AI and automation to grow, and the practical steps you should follow to automate your dental lab in our white paper The Next Digital Revolution: Future-Proofing Your Dental Lab in the Age of AI and Automation.


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