Why do dental labs need to outsource computing power to the cloud?

October 30, 20234 minute read

Scalability. Security. Regular upgrades. These are just some of the benefits dental lab owners look for in dental production software. Many are finding that the cloud is essential to all of these capabilities. Here's why.

One important aspect of AI-powered software, as well as any software that creates or uses 3D models, is that they require a great deal of computing power. For dental labs, it is unrealistic to meet these needs with on-premises hardware, which would be too expensive to acquire and too labor-intensive to manage.

The Manufacturing OS cloud

This is where cloud computing and cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications come in. 

With cloud-based solutions, dental labs can easily take advantage of high-powered software platforms with very large computational demands. In fact, they can access these tools remotely through the cloud, gaining access to essentially infinite calculation power. This enables sophisticated software to process very large, complex files much more quickly.

Advantages of cloud-based software

Cloud-based SaaS solutions deliver many other important benefits for dental labs, including:

Lower costs

Cloud-based software uses a subscription model that eliminates the need to buy or manage on-site servers.


Because they do not require on-site hardware, SaaS solutions are very easy to scale up when production volume increases.


Data security is the SaaS provider’s responsibility, and the costs are included in the subscription, so labs get continuous access to the latest security tools and expert support.

Remote access

With 3D printers and CNC mills running overnight, it is very convenient to be able to monitor their progress or troubleshoot issues without visiting the lab.

Easy upgrades

Upgrades to SaaS solutions happen behind the scenes, so labs can use the latest features without disrupting production.

Dental whitepaper

Subscription-based cloud software allowed a US dental lab to bring its 3D metal printing operations in house instead of sending these jobs out to a third-party provider. Motor City Lab Works (MCLW) is a full-service lab based in Michigan, US that pioneered the fabrication of direct metal printed appliances in the country.

It started as a private in-house lab and expanded into a full-service lab serving over 850 clients around the world. Cloud-based SaaS software was central to enabling MCLW to expand its metal printing.

MCLW owner John Dumas says: "I don’t think I would have brought in the metal printer if I didn’t have a cloud-based SaaS solution. Bringing everything in-house has meant that we’re much more agile. Previously, queries to an outsourced team could take up to a day to be resolved. Now, our SaaS solution frees up critical time and people."

Access to the latest capabilities – without having to do anything or pause operations – is also very appealing to Christian Knoop, head of innovation at German dental lab Volkmer.

"While the technician is working on the data, it can be shared with the SaaS provider, and they can directly support us if there is a problem," Knopp says. "The software is state-of-the-art. 
The continuous development and updates from a cloud-based solution ensure we can leverage the latest features and advances in processes and technology now as well as five years from now."

Seeing the impact the software made on their dental production removed any reservations about the cloud. Initially, Volkmer was skeptical about whether a subscription cloud-based solution would be suitable for them, but it turned out to be a great advantage for them. "You have the ability to test Oqton to check whether the software meets your needs, and the software fulfilled all our requirements and more," concludes Ralph Riquier, CAD/CAM consultant who supported Volkmer.

Dental lab owners are turning to cloud-based software to scale their production in a smooth and cost-effective way. Learn what other new technologies they're using to prepare their dental labs for the future and discover the practical steps for automating your dental lab in our whitepaper The Next Digital Revolution: Future-Proofing Your Dental Lab in the Age of AI and Automation.


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