Quality tooling innovations with mass customization capability optimized for today’s dental prosthetics manufacturing
George Gu | OSG Shanghai
Although teeth are not the main organs of the human body, they accompany our lives for decades from birth until old age. The condition of teeth not only affects a person’s daily diet, but also has a subtle influence on physical health. With China’s rapid economic development, the expectation for quality of life today has become much higher in comparison to 30 years ago. As living standards rise, so does the demand for dental services. The driving force behind China’s growing dental market is attributed to factors such as an aging population, greater awareness of oral health and cosmetic dentistry, improved accessibility to dental clinics, and technological advances in the restorative dentistry. As a populous country, the dental industry and manufacturers for dental machining are ushered in a wave of new business opportunities brought by the surged of increased market demand.
Key Materials in Denture Processing
Three main materials are used in denture processing in China – zirconia ceramics, glass ceramics, and metals (titanium alloy and cobalt chromium alloy).
Among the three key major materials, zirconia is the most widely used in China, which is inexpensive and has high hardness after heat treatment. The processing characteristics of zirconia is its waterless processing. Zirconia is a relatively easy-processed material because it is powdery and does not easily generate heat during machining. In China, the mainstream processing method for zirconia is by using carbide tooling without coating. With this machining method, tool life averages around 500 teeth. OSG’s DLC coated end mills especially excel in the processing of zirconia. OSG’s DLC coating’s low coefficient of friction characteristic provides excellent wear resistance to ensure stable and long tool life in zirconia applications. By employing OSG’s DLC coated end mill, average tool life can be tripled to approximately 1,500 teeth versus local dental tooling providers.
Glass ceramic applications can be used without heat treatment after processing. Due to its pure white color after polishing, dentures made of glass ceramics are highly aesthetically pleasing and natural in appearance. Although the price of glass ceramics is much more expensive than zirconia, demand has been gradually increasing as greater emphasis is placed on beauty. In a few years, it is anticipated that the position of zirconia may be replaced by high-esthetic glass ceramics. Ordinary end mills cannot meet the processing requirements of glass ceramics. However, a key advantage that local Chinese tool manufacturers can offer is their competitive pricing. An increasing number of dental tooling manufacturers are turning their attention from zirconia to glass ceramics, and are developing their own electroplated diamond end mills that average 20 dentures in tool life. OSG’s electroplated diamond grinding tools perform exceptionally well in glass ceramic applications with high-speed capability and long tool life. Although result may vary depending on equipment and cutting condition, OSG’s electroplated diamond grinding tooling can on average complete 25 to 32 dentures per tool.
Today in China, all implants are made of pure titanium metal. A wide variety of cutting tools are used in the machining of implants, such as thread milling cutters, ball end mills, flat-bottomed milling cutters and drills. It requires approximately eight to nine tools to complete a single implant. Metal dentures are non-standard parts due to the uniqueness of each person’s teeth. As a result, dentures are commonly processed by compact dental milling machines rather than being mass produced on large industrial equipment. In general, about eight hours is required to process a standard dental tray (98 mm). OSG’s WXL and WXS end mill series are especially suitable for the machining of titanium and cobalt chrome dental applications. OSG’s WXL and WXS series are premium carbide end mills designed for hard milling and high-speed milling. These end mills feature OSG’s patented WXL and WXS nanocoating technology and are available in various styles, including corner radius, ball end, long neck, high helix and tapered. Internal cutting trial results have shown that OSG’s WXL and WXS end mills are able to process two standard dental trays, which is double the life versus the local manufacturers’ tooling.
OSG’s high-tech dental lineup features proprietary coating and tool geometry engineered to excel in common dental materials such as cobalt chrome, titanium, zirconium oxide, wax, PMMA and glass ceramics.
“Quality assurance, abundant dental technical information and a strong global network are the three key advantages of OSG’s dental tooling,” said Yusuke ‘Julio’ Kubota, OSG Corporation Dental Product Manager.
In addition to China, OSG has dental application engineers who can provide technical support in Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, Japan and Brazil. OSG is structured to both monitor and respond to customer needs in each country efficiently. Moreover, cutting trials are being held at OSG’s international headquarters in Japan frequently to evaluate the latest available dental materials in order to accommodate evolving needs.
“Made in Japan quality is highly valued by our customers,” said Kubota. “Cutting tools for dental CAD / CAM systems can be purchased worldwide from OSG with the same quality and confidence.”
With a wide spectrum of tooling lineup and effective support network, OSG is positioned to provide global dental manufacturers high-quality and customizable tooling solutions tailored for every unique application.
For more information on OSG’s dental tooling solutions