Last winter, Desktop Health, the medical 3D printing division of Desktop Metal (NYSE: DM), revealed the commercial launch of its high-precision Einstein dental series of 3D printers, as well as Flexcera Smile Ultra+ resin. Now, it’s announced global availability for one of those systems: the high-throughput, high-accuracy, DLP-based Einstein Pro XL 3D printer for orthodontists, dental labs, and medical device manufacturers. This production-grade polymer 3D printing system joins the company’s entry-level Einstein desktop machine as a complete printer set for medical and dental professionals.
The new Einstein Pro XL is described as “an affordable workhorse,” and has been tested by users all around the world during hundreds of hours of printing. The final throughput the printer offers may vary based on different case sizes, but testing multiple Einstein Pro XL printers over numerous builds shows that no matter what, it delivers high productivity. Using a 4K ultra high-definition projector powered by an industrial DLP chip below the print vat to achieve 45 micron printing in the X and Y axes, and featuring a large 249.1 x 140.1 x 165.1 mm build area, the DLP system uses the closed-loop sensing system and strategically applied heat of the proprietary Hyperprint technology to enable high-speed printing.
“The Einstein Pro XL stands alone as a premium, production-grade DLP system in the sub-$40,000 dental lab market. Built on a trusted DLP architecture, the Einstein Pro XL is loaded with upgrades that make it an ROI powerhouse for productivity-oriented labs serving the most demanding dental professionals and patients,” stated Ric Fulop, Founder and CEO of Desktop Metal.
“While Einstein Pro XL can 3D print a wide range of resins for dental models and other devices such as bite guards, it’s the only large-volume printer on the market capable of printing our popular and proprietary Flexcera material for exceptionally strong temporary and permanent restorations. We’re delighted to offer this highly anticipated new system to the global market.”
The base platform for the Einstein Pro XL is the EnvisionTEC Perfactory series; Desktop Metal acquired EnvisionTEC in 2021, so it appears to be putting its precision DLP technology to good use. The process uses an HD projector to rapidly flash and cure one layer of resin at a time with a theater-quality DLP chip, and the brightness of each pixel can be individually controlled; this enables curing of each pixel to different depths or voxels. By being able to control each individual voxel, you can majorly improve the surface quality and accuracy of the 3D printed parts, and adding custom optics and specific light wavelengths, like the company’s proprietary NanoFit 385 for more efficient curing, doesn’t hurt either.
The new Einstein Pro XL also features easy-peel supports, smart load sensors, and built-in heaters, as well as dual linear slides for the moving build plate, which help maintain a parallel build environment and ensure high accuracy across the print bed. Desktop Health also says that layer thicknesses down to 25 microns can be achieved, depending on what material the system is processing.
Let’s talk about those materials for a minute. While a variety of dental resins for night guards, models, dentures, veneers, crowns, and other applications can be printed on the Einstein Pro XL, it’s the only high-volume 3D printer on the market qualified to print Flexcera Smile Ultra+, an FDA 510(k) cleared Class II hybrid ceramic resin material for temporary and permanent dental restorations. The rest of the Flexcera material family is also qualified to be used with the new 3D printer as well.
But you may recall that a class action suit was filed against Desktop Metal in December 2021, with employee testimony in a Corrected Consolidated Class Action Complaint filed in December 2022 suggesting that, as Michael Molitch-Hou explained, “members of the company were involved in fraudulent manufacturing activity that circumvented regulations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
“The lawsuit claims that Desktop overinflated its revenue expectations related to the acquisition of EnvisionTEC, the inventor of digital light processing (DLP) technology. It makes a number of arguments about where Desktop executives made misleading statements. The core issue, however, relates to the FDA approval of a biocompatible resin from EnvisionTEC (later Desktop Health) used for temporary long-term use inside a patient’s mouth for dentures and crowns. Because dental 3D printing and the specific Flexcera product line were meant to drive a certain amount of revenue, the complainants take issue with this area in particular,” Molitch-Hou continued.
The bottom line: the suit claims that EnvisionTEC, now part of the Desktop Metal family, made and sold Flexcera resins, in addition to a curing station, counter to FDA regulations—namely, that bottles of Flexcera resin for patient use were manufactured at a company facility that didn’t have the necessary FDA registration, that executives Ali El-Sibani and Michael Jafar knew about it, and that the resin was then bottled and labeled as if it had come from the company’s FDA-registered facility in Germany.
Desktop Metal management appears to be responding appropriately to whatever is going on in its EnvisionTEC division, and I’m not suggesting otherwise. But it does put a bad taste in your mouth, pun fully intended, and hopefully these legal issues with Flexcera resins won’t impact printer sales. If the Einstein Pro XL can deliver on what it promises, that shouldn’t be an issue.
The company says that the Einstein Pro XL can print 30 full arch models in 68 minutes, 46 crown and bridge models in 61 minutes, and 52 night guards in 186 minutes. Print times for other appliances and prosthetics include:
- 32 minutes for 300 temporaries or crowns
- 79 minutes for 14 monolithic dentures
- 130 minutes for 18 denture bases
- 35 minutes for 15 full arch denture teeth
The new Einstein Pro XL is available for purchase now, and retails for $39,999, without a long-term lease commitment. You can see the DLP printer for yourself at the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany next week.
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