Carbon Releases Automatic Operation Suite for Dental 3D Printing

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Carbon, the Silicon Valley-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) 3D printers, has released a system of automation solutions specifically designed for the dental industry. Called the Automatic Operation (AO) Suite, the first three components of the new release include software for automated print preparation; the AO Backpack, which automates printing for up to 14 hours; and the AO Polishing Cassette, for post-processing.

This latest release follows Carbon’s announcement in December 2023 that it had added three new dental resins to its portfolio of materials. According to Additive Manufacturing (AM) Research, the market for dental 3D printing applications already stood at $4 billion annually in 2022: but Carbon’s determined push to gain an even greater share of dental is just one of many signs, lately, that the growth potential of the vertical isn’t slowing down just yet.

In a press release about the AO Suite for the Carbon ecosystem, the CEO and co-founder of Carbon, Phil DeSimone, said, “The launch of our Automatic Operation Suite marks a pivotal step in our journey to elevate the dental lab industry. These innovative solutions embody our ongoing mission to deliver solutions that not only meet the current needs of labs but are built on the idea of continued innovation across the [AM] industry.”

While growth in the dental market isn’t slowing down, however, the form that such growth is taking certainly seems to have undertaken a shift. The existence of that trend is also reinforced by Carbon’s latest product releases for the dental market. As AM Research’s Scott Dunham noted in a 3DPrintPRO article last year, “[3D printing solutions for the dental market] have become trusted enough and used to a wide enough degree across many dental applications, that the focus of the market has now begun to evolve slightly beyond the printer itself.”

Moreover, this trend appears to be a decidedly global one, with the US-China OEM LuxCreo having released its own automation system for the dental market in 2023. Thus, in addition to being at the forefront of mass customization, the 3D printing for dental market also seems to be at the forefront of end-to-end to automation.

Along those lines, anyone attempting to gauge the trajectory of where the rest of the AM industry will be by 2030 should look to dental for hints. Clearly, two of the big lessons are the maximization of automation, and materials development that focuses as much as possible on the specific applications of the target market.

In that case, with consolidation as much on the minds of AM industry leaders as it ever has been, observers trying to guess where the impetus for consolidation will come from may want to keep a close eye on the companies cornering the dental market. This is not simply due to the sheer size of the market relative to other 3D printing verticals: perhaps even more so, it is because these are the companies that have the most relevant experience in terms of continuously scaling up the underlying technologies in a commercial setting.

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