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Proto Labs has revealed how critical plastic parts made using its Protomold rapid injection moulding service have helped to speed up the time to market of a drill-less dental treatment called Icon developed by DMG Dental.

DMG Dental’s product is based on the application of plastic inter-dental wedges to separate teeth that are very close set. The challenge was to realise a universal standard wedge that could separate all types of teeth adequately.

After changing the geometry of the part and so creating a trapezoidal shape in cross section, the company uploaded its CAD model to the Protomold website and obtained a production quote within a day.

In comparison with previous prototyping lead times of more than eight weeks, with Proto Labs this was reduced to two to three weeks from initial contact to receiving finished parts.

Key benefits of product application

  • The team at DMG was pleasantly surprised by the speed and reliability it experienced with Proto Labs’ service.
  • After only four weeks of development, the current version was completed at the end of August 2011.
  • The first deliveries have been made with initial, low-volume production batches supplied by Proto Labs while DMG waited for the manufacture of steel tooling for full-scale mass production.
  • Steffen Effenberger, head of technical development at DMG, said the company wouldn’t have got the product to market so quickly without Proto Labs.
  • He added that every deadline was met and the manufacturability advice the company received for the realisation of the models was very good.
  • DMG has since used the Protomold process for improvements to its syringe applicator.

Proto Labs

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Protomold delivers injection-moulded parts from moulds manufactured utilising state-of-the-art high-speed CNC machining technologies. Parts can be moulded using almost any engineering-grade resin and are ideal for prototyping, bridge tooling and low-volume production.

First Cut satisfies the need for functional prototypes much earlier in the development cycle for quantities of 1–10+. Because First Cut delivers prototypes in engineering-grade resins and aluminium they will have real material properties and improved surface finishes. In other words, they will be functional.

When you submit your 3D CAD model, Proto Labs’ powerful super-compute cluster creates an interactive quote giving pricing options and where appropriate, suggesting changes to improve manufacturability. You simply interact with your quote online, tailor options such as material and delivery to your requirements and with every change, the pricing information automatically updates. This built-in ‘what-if’ analysis enables last-minute project refinements to be accommodated at the click of a button.

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