Laser sintering is moving beyond the prototyping industry, winning new business in the medical arena for its ability to produce low-volume, specialized parts.
German company EOS GmbH, for instance, is seeing new uses in creating molds for crowns and other dental parts, said Claudia Jordan, a public relations specialist with Munich-based EOS, during an interview at PDx/Amerimold, held May 11-13 in Cincinnati.
Traditionally, tooth replacements like crowns involved low wax casting with wax molds made of the inside of a patient's mouth. Laser-sintering technology, however, is allowing dental technicians to do digital scans, rather than create a physical mold. The scan is then fed into the laser-sintering machine to create a final cobalt-chrome alloy mold far faster-than-traditional methods.
A dental specialty company making dental parts can then easily boost production of porcelain crowns from eight to 10 per day to hundreds, she said.
In other applications, the laser printing technology is being used to produce micromolded parts for the medical, dental and aerospace industry. Current technology allows the company's machines to produce parts with a wall thickness down to 32 microns.
A lot of people recognize us as prototyping company, but we're developing new manufacturing techniques as well, Jordan said.
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