This is where the Swiss m4m Center comes in with its services. Dental technical and orthodontic laboratories commission the company to manufacture such products as promodel cast prosthetics, frameworks for complex (implant) prosthetic restorations and orthodontic parts such as transpalatal arches, GNE and Herbst appliances either from a chrome-cobalt alloy or from titanium. Usually only the digital model pair is provided for this – it is designed and manufactured in the Swiss m4m Center. In this way, even laboratories that decide against investing in additive manufacturing systems can also benefit from the technology and the associated manufacturing quality.
Anyone planning to get started with the additive manufacturing of dental components made of metal – from the start or at a later point in time – will receive appropriate support. “For such an investment to be worthwhile from an economic point of view, a fairly high production volume is required, which only a few dental laboratories in Switzerland actually achieve. However, for those who want to remain innovative first and foremost and advertise their technical equipment, an investment in additive manufacturing can be worthwhile, even for smaller piece counts,” reports Nicolas Bouduban. He sees this technology transfer as a matter of course.
In order to set up a reliable process chain - both in an in-house production center and in a laboratory - a machine must first be selected. In terms of process reliability, this machine should always be used for the material, i.e. one system is required for each material. Then the other required components are assembled. As soon as a quality structure has been established and the team has mastered the technology within it, the speed can be optimized in order to meet the stated market requirements.
In the Swiss m4m Center, a process chain established in 2020 around the MYSINT100 (Sisma) system is used to produce dental components made of titanium. In autumn 2022, the company invested in a TruPrint 1000 from TRUMPF for processing chrome-cobalt alloy, which was presented as a world first in November 2022. "For me, the greatest strengths of the new system are the component quality that can be achieved, the versatility and the options for adapting the equipment to your own requirements," reports Nicolas Bouduban. The TruPrint 1000 has a substrate plate with a diameter of 98.5 mm, and the equipment can be adapted to user needs thanks to numerous equipment options. The range of applications can be expanded with the preform option for the production of up to 64 individual implant abutments on one platform, as well as the hybrid production option. The latter makes it possible to rework the fitting surfaces of printed components by milling. If, on the other hand, the total order volume increases, the multilaser options can be retrofitted to simultaneous exposure of the powder with two TRUMPF fiber lasers and Multiplate. Multiplate takes up to four build plates, changes them fully automatically and collects finished plates in the overflow bin, allowing large order volumes to be realized overnight and on weekends without personnel.
"We initially invested in a basic version of the TruPrint 1000, but plan to gradually expand the options - starting with the preform equipment package this year," says Nicolas Bouduban. He adds: “The start-up and establishment of the process chain went absolutely smoothly for us. This is certainly also due to the fact that we have already gained a lot of experience in laser metal fusion with a TRUMPF machine: The TruPrint 2000, which is used for instrument production. Basically, TRUMPF as a manufacturer, but also the special system itself, make it easy for beginners to produce high-quality components too.”