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Trumpf development enables ‘abutment laser printing’ for dentistry

27 Sep 2021

3D laser printer, demoed at IDS dental technology expo, offers choice of one or two lasers, using laser-metal fusion technique.

At last week’s IDS dental show in Cologne, Germany, technology company Trumpf launched a new processing solution designed to make the production of customized, implant-supported dental prostheses more efficient. The new processor focuses on the manufacturing of “abutments”, the connecting elements that join the dental implant to the visible crown.

The TruPrint 1000 3D printer, which is specially designed for the dental industry, can print up to 64 implant abutments in a single print job – and with the use of preforms it can deliver complete jobs in under three hours, the company stated.

A preform is a special kind of base or substrate with a prefabricated implant connection geometry and a flat platform on which an individual component can be printed from a chromium-cobalt alloy or titanium using a 3D printer.

The processing solution is used to create the abutments that are ultimately used to support the dental crown. Abutment manufacturing has traditionally relied on milling, bonded hybrid Abutments, or complex casting methods.

“Implant- supported dental prostheses are the world’s fastest-growing dental industry segment,” commented Reinhard Sroka, dental industry manager at Trumpf. “That is why dental laboratories need to act fast to tap into this lucrative and pioneering field – harnessing the power of high-productivity 3D printers is the best way to tackle growing cost and competitive pressures,” Sroka added.

Laser metal fusion

Trumpf has developed a special adapter plate for its preform processing solution; this can be loaded with preforms prior to printing and inserted into the TruPrint 1000 3D printer, where it is calibrated fully automatically.

The printer, which comes with a choice of one or two lasers, employs the laser metal fusion technique to melt the metal powder layer by layer and fabricate individual abutments in the powder bed.

Additive manufacturing also offers several advantages when it comes to tackling complex abutment geometries: users have alsignificant freedom to choose where to position the screw channels, and even the most complex structures can be fabricated with ease.

The new preform processing solution adds an extra dimension to the TruPrint 1000, making it a suitable machine for implant prosthetics manufacturing. Its Multiplate option enables the system to produce parts without manual intervention on up to four build platforms, enabling overnight and weekend operation.

The system automatically switches to the next platform after each production job and stores them directly within the machine. The Multiplate function cannot currently be used in tandem with the new preform processing solution, Trumpf notes.

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