AMS Spring 2023

Keystone Resins Advance in Dental 3D Printing Market via Rapid Shape

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As SmarTech Analysis VP of Research Scott Dunham explained during Additive Manufacturing Strategies 2020, when you combine medical and dental applications, the healthcare portion of the AM market is worth a little over $3 billion dollars, and the dental industry in particular is “fairly mature overall in its adoption of additive manufacturing,” with increased success and interest in high-speed vat photopolymerization technologies. Now, dental supplier Keystone Industries are demonstrating how that sector is advancing.

In addition to the jewelry and hearing aid industries, Rapid Shape also develops and manufactures 3D printing systems for the dental market. To that end, the company announced that it has validated a line of dental 3D printing materials from Keystone Industries for its own D20+, D30+, D20 II, D30 II, and D40 II 3D printers.

Keystone’s global group of dental companies mainly supplies consumable laboratory and operatory/preventative products through its over 800 distribution partners in more than 70 countries. The company states that by following what the market needs and ensuring that its resulting products are compliant and effective, its KeyPrint line of eight specially formulated materials for dental applications are the top open source dental resins in the industry.

The line includes the unique KeySplint Soft, a material for efficiently 3D printing splints and night guards, which has regulatory clearance in the US, Australia, the EU, and Canada and a guaranteed three-year shelf life. Keystone determined that brittleness and color stability are the main limitations of most splint materials, which is why it worked to create a material that was similar to a hard-soft guard, and would be strong yet comfortable enough for patients to wear.

KeySplint Soft

Ira Rosenau, Keystone’s President of Dental, said, “One of the things we set out to do was to create some really innovative direct-printed medical devices for patients. Castables are great and models remain the predominant printed application in dentistry, but the real innovation and the next step in moving this industry forward was to create medical devices that could be printed directly: splints, night guards, dentures, teeth, direct print aligners, etc.”

Keystone previously worked with Carbon to optimize the material for use with DLP printing, and has said that KeySplint Soft can be used to create safe, high-quality, and accurate splints and mouth guards for less labor and material costs. The KeySplint Soft resin is flexible for comfort, but also tough and durable without being brittle, so it’s said to hold up well under bruxism, better known as teeth grinding. According to Keystone, it’s transparent, stain-resistant, and easy to clean, and Rosenau also stated that it wears just as long as traditional splint materials, and possibly even longer.

Just like the KeyPrint line’s KeyGuide, KeyTray and the upcoming KeyIBT materials, KeySplint Soft is biocompatible, and all have been tested and validated so that Rapid Shape dental customers can soon put them to good use.

“We are excited about partnering with Keystone to validate and develop the KeyPrint line for optimal use with the Rapid Shape systems. In Keystone we have an innovative, expert material partner on our side, with whom we can offer our customers access to highend technology and differentiated 3D printing materials,” Andreas Schultheiss, CEO of Rapid Shape, said in a press release sent to “The material parameters for the comfortably soft yet very strong and clear KeySplint Soft resin are now available for our customers via our Rapid Shape engine. More Keystone material parameters to follow shortly.”

Rapid Shape’s dental printers feature a large print area, and use a patented high-speed force feedback technology to offer faster cycle times. The company offers an open material system, which will now include the validated KeyPrint dental resins.

(Image courtesy of Rapid Shape)

“Keystone is thrilled to complete our validation partnership with Rapid Shape. In the D20, D30 and D40 printing systems, Andreas and his team have created a user-friendly, efficient and clever workflow that yields precise printed parts,” Rosenau.

In a recent report on polymer AM markets, SmarTech Analysis said it believes that in 2020, polymer 3D printing will generate as much as $11.7 billion in sales of hardware and associated materials, like the KeyPrint line. With night guards starting to emerge as a more popular vat photopolymerization 3D printing application, this collaboration between Rapid Shape and Keystone was very timely.

(Images courtesy of Keystone Industries unless otherwise noted)

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