The company says almost all clear aligners today are produced by thermoforming onto 3D printed models.
modern clear is a German manufacturer of transparent aligners. Present in 45 countries, the company partners with more than 16,000 dentists and orthodontists and, over the past five years, has treated more than 150,000 patients and produced more than three million clear aligners.
“Our slogan is the best quality, the best aesthetics, but never at the expense of functionality. We designed the alignment system to be medically transparent. The most important thing is that the treatment result is achieved without any harm to the patient’s health condition. Our 3D simulations and prognoses are realistic and we are not afraid to flag some contraindicated cases,” said Gleb Grützner, CEO of Modern Clear.
Clear aligners appear nearly invisible, making them popular with adult patients who don’t want co-workers, friends and family to notice they are receiving dental work.
A key aspect of Modern Clear’s aligner system is in-house production. All aligners are produced by thermoforming onto 3D-printed models, hand-polished for the smoothest surface finish, and then shipped directly from Modern Clear’s office in Germany to dentists and orthodontists worldwide, according to the company.
“For us, 3D printing is essential. We cannot have a manufacturing process without using 3D printers. The most important thing in 3D printing is the quality, because if the quality of the 3D printed model is good, the aligner will also most likely be good, the doctor will be happy and the patient will be happy. So ultimately we build the company with a good reputation,” Grützner said.
The Modern Clear team first discovered Formlabs at a trade show and quickly purchased their first two Form 2 printers. A few months later a third printer was purchased and eventually increased the fleet to 20 printers to meet growing demand.
With the release of the Form 3, Modern Clear decided to upgrade its entire production line to the new model, growing to 40 Form 3 printers. The fleet operates in production 24/7, three shifts per day with Formlabs Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) technology.
“As we run a large company and have 40 machines, it is important to have access to professional support in terms of maintenance. From time to time a printer will need maintenance and repairs, and Formlabs helps us here with extensive support. If something breaks, they hot-swap it in a day or two,” Grützner said. “Once a month, they come with their team and do the maintenance. This is for me, one of the most important things, as a business owner.
Grützner says he has seen rapid adoption of digital technologies in dentistry and orthodontics over the past few years and expects this to accelerate in the future. Many dental labs already use 3D printers, but Grützner predicts that the use of 3D scanners will also become the norm as the technology becomes more accessible.
Grützner said: “I would say that currently maybe 10% of dental practices are working entirely digitally. But I feel like over the last two years of the pandemic, many have become comfortable with the idea of digitizing their clinic because it saves so much time and so many appointments. So I see a fully digital future.
Want to discuss ? Join the conversation on the Discord of the global additive manufacturing community.
Get insights into 3D printing from PepsiCo, Boeing, Jack Wolfskin and more at the TCT @ Formnext conference. Get your pass here.
Get your FREE print subscription to TCT Magazine.