Optimizing Dental CAM Workflows

March 5, 2019
The future of dentistry is digital. Leading edge CAM technology is becoming more and more affordable and has already established itself as the standard for cost-effective and high-quality dental manufacturing. To remain profitable in this increasingly competitive landscape, dental labs and practices are under increasing pressure to constantly optimize their dental CAM workflows. Optimizing means:
ModuleWorks_digital_dental

Simplified workflows  

Improved quality and precision of dental indications 

High-performance technology 

ModuleWorks Dental CAM targets each of these optimizing factors. ModuleWorks technology is based on over 800 man-years of cutting edge software development in diverse CAM industries ranging from aerospace to automotive and from woodwork to optics. The advanced algorithms developed for these industries are ideal for manufacturing the free-form shapes of dental indications and have been especially adapted and fine-tuned to bring all the benefits of state-of-the-art CAM manufacturing to digital dentistry.

Simplified workflows

The most efficient dental lab is the one that makes the best use of fully automated workflows. Apart from nesting the indications and entering the quality parameters, users should have no input other than to click “Mill”.
The robust CAM kernel and automation architecture of ModuleWorks Dental CAM uses fully configurable and verified machining templates and routines based on input from ModuleWorks dental engineers and the dental lab’s R&D staff. The templates ensure efficient and flexible job implementation for manufacturing a wide spectrum of dental indications. Users can quickly set up and manufacture even the most complex dental designs without needing any special CAM knowledge.

Figure 1 shows how ModuleWorks Dental CAM (Dental Framework) combines additive and subtractive manufacturing, simulation, a toolset library and post processor in a universal dental CAM system that enables users to quickly select the best-suited and most cost-effective manufacturing process for each job.

ModuleWorks_Info_Grafik_Dentalframework
Figure 1: ModuleWorks Dental CAM (Dental Framework) is a universal dental CAM solution with unified workflows for additive and subtractive machining.

Improved quality and precision

In an ideal world, machining would be the end of the story. But in practice, manual post-processing is often needed to ensure a high-quality, perfectly fitting and aesthetically pleasing end product. This is especially true for designs such as dentures that contain undercuts and other manufacturing complexities. Manual post processing is time consuming and costly. An automated CAM system that minimizes manual post-processing gives an important competitive advantage.
By utilizing sophisticated multi-axis CAM strategies that have been continuously optimized to meet the demands of high-precision machining in different industries, ModuleWorks Dental CAM delivers a high-quality machined product that reduces the need for manual finishing. The ModuleWorks geodesic machining strategy, for example, contains over 20 man-years of software development for the aerospace industry where stringent process requirements require toolpaths with a constant stepover, even on highly curved surfaces. This technology is now helping to improve quality, reduce costs and deliver a better patient experience in dental labs and practices.
Figure 2: Constant cusp and geodesic machining strategies optimize the surface quality of anatomical indications

High-performance technology

A big cost factor is the time it takes to calculate the CAM toolpath. During the calculation, the workstation is occupied which means unproductive idle time while users wait for the calculation to finish. ModuleWorks Dental CAM takes full advantage of the latest multithreading techniques to speed up the calculation and keep production moving. Recent laboratory tests show that ModuleWorks multithreading on multi-core processors boosts performance by up to 75% in dental labs and up to 90% in chairside applications.

Average Performance Increase

0%

 over a single-core processor

After calculating the toolpath, the dental indication can be machined. The machining time is also important because it determines the productivity and profitability of the machine. The lower the machining time, the higher the job throughput and the more profitable the investment. Lower machining times also mean less wear on mechanical components and further cost savings. In on-site R&D trials with industry development partners, the 2019 release of ModuleWorks Dental CAM reduced machining times by up to 80% compared to previous versions.

Average Performance Increase

0%

reduction in machining time

Summary: Right-first-time manufacturing

Easy-to-use workflows, high-precision manufacturing and high-performance technology are key success factors in digital dentistry. ModuleWorks Dental CAM combines all these factors in a single system that brings all the benefits of over 800 man-years of CAM software development to the dental industry for cost-saving, right-first-time dental manufacturing.

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