3D printing: “We like to maximise output and quality at an affordable price”
3D printing has been a major topic at IDS 2021. Based in Budapest in Hungary, VOXELTEK develops and manufactures technology for dental laboratories and offers them an easy introduction to implementing a digital workflow and a quick return on investment. Dental Tribune International spoke with László Diósi, global sales manager at VOXELTEK, and Tamás Liszkai, the company’s product development manager, to find out more.
Can you please tell us about the company—when and how did you get started?
Liszkai: The company was incorporated in 2013 in Budapest. At that time, we started developing unique 3D-printing technology, and later we turned our focus to the dental industry. We saw that, with the ongoing development in the industry—namely with oral scanners and CAD/CAM software—there was an increasing demand for affordable desktop 3D printing in dentistry. We moved quickly so that any laboratory, small or large, could apply and use this technology. It was during IDS 2017 that we first presented our high-resolution 3D desktop printers to the international market.
What has changed since IDS 2017 in terms of the technology and what you are offering dentists?
Liszkai: At that time, 3D printing was still relatively new and not as widespread as it is today. Accordingly, we had a lot of discussions with potential clients about the core, very basic, principles of the technology. In the last few years, we have spent much less time explaining the technology because people are more knowledgeable and they seem to know what 3D printing is all about. Not only are they more aware of it, but also they seem to understand what this technology can do for them in terms of the digital manufacturing of dental parts.
What is important for customers when they approach you, and what should they be aware of?
Diósi: Certainly, they are looking for 3D printers that are fast, reliable and versatile when it comes to what they offer and the options related to the printing materials that can be used.
What we have seen in the market is that people buy 3D printers and then realise the cost of the materials—which is something that needs to be purchased continually, usually at a high price—and so they begin to shop around for cheaper materials, and this creates a problem because they often try to adjust their existing 3D printer so that it will work with that material. To counter this, we offer a wide range of our own materials, including resins, and these are all preset in the software of the printers, and we really try to encourage customers to use our materials.
Is this one of the things you are focusing on at IDS 2021?
Diósi: Yes! If visitors buy one of our 3D printers, as an IDS special, they will receive a two-year supply of our most commonly used material: VOXELTEK Pro. This is not only an attractive offer, but also helps to eliminate the possibility of customers trying to use other materials with our 3D printers, which can lead to negative outcomes that may be blamed on the hardware.
What are some of the highlights of the technology which you are offering?
Liszkai: In terms of applications, our 3D printers are much more accessible—much more affordable—for small and mid-sized laboratories compared with some competitor products, which are in the higher price range. It goes without saying that we have always aimed to match, or even exceed, the quality that is being offered by some of the larger players in the industry. Naturally, however, we offer the printers at a lower price. To sum it up, we like to maximise output and quality at an affordable price.
What else can you tell me about the company?
Diósi: In addition to offering 3D printers, we manufacture 3D desktop dental scanners and light polymerising boxes for final polymerisation of our 3D-printed products. We also offer a cabinet for storing the items. These four solutions can be combined into one system, which we call VOXELTEK FLOW, and this provides an easy option for starting with 3D digital printing in a laboratory, because laboratories have already realised that, with the wider use of intra-oral scanners, if they do not adopt the technology in the laboratory, then they may lose their existing customers.
What do you think about the new developments that are taking place in 3D-printing applications in dentistry?
Liszkai: We have seen some very interesting developments in the field of 3D-printing materials, such as splint materials, directly printed clear aligners and permanent crowns, and these developments make us very excited about the near future of 3D-printing applications in dentistry. We feel very proud and excited to be part of the revolution that is taking place, and we are doing our best to come up with our own developments and applications that will take 3D printing for dental applications even further.
If a dentist here at IDS asks you why he or she should get a 3D printer, what would you answer?
Diósi: If he or she wants to print reliable temporary crowns or models in a fast and efficient way, we have the solution to do that in-house.
Liszkai: The dentist could shop elsewhere and spend a lot more money in order to get the same solution, or he or she could come to us and get a solution of equal quality for a lower price.