Within the Multimaterial 3D field lab, Océ-Technologies is working with TNO and NextDent on an approach to 3D print artificial colored teeth for dentures and crowns. The resulting technology may serve a billion euro market, provide better-looking results and massively reduce the amount of manual labor that goes into making dental prostheses. On 13 April, Link Magazine published an interview with René van der Meer, the Océ lead technologist for industrial printing involved with the project.
Lifelike color and transparency nuances
A smile that is too white and too even is a dead giveaway that an older person is wearing dentures. To print realistic artificial teeth, you need to make every voxel – the 3D equivalent of a pixel – different in color and transparency. Océ contributes the printheads, color management and 3D workflow software to print artificial teeth with the required color and structure Kateryna Filippovych (Venlo, Print process)nuances. Soon, a complete tooth may be printed in under 30 minutes.
The 4 partners each contribute their expertise. The dental material is provided by NextDent and modified for 3D printing by TNO Brightlands Materials Center. TNO AMSYSTEMS Center integrates Océ’s color jetting technology with their mono color 3D dental printer. For Océ, the project is a way to solidify their position outside their traditional 2D-printing markets. In the future, the technology may have even more biomedical applications, such as printing skin or prostheses.
The collaboration has been very productive, according to Van der Meer. So far, the focus has been on developing the materials, hardware and software, but the first 3D dental objects are scheduled to start soon. The goal is to have concrete results by mid-2019.