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Renishaw has opened a facility for the manufacture of low-cost computer-aided-design/computer-aided-manufacturing (CAD/CAM) frameworks using pure, certified medical-grade cobalt chrome metal.

The new copings and frameworks will be produced using an advanced rapid manufacturing technology called direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and will allow dental laboratories to offer a lower-cost alternative to ceramic restorations, which Renishaw is calling Laser PFM.

Bryan Austin, director of Renishaw’s Dental Products Division, said: ‘The DMLS process is much cleaner and more efficient than traditional investment [‘lost wax’] casting techniques used for many years to produce metal frameworks and we believe that our new service will appeal to laboratories who would like to remove a messy process and free up space.

‘With so much concern about imported metal crowns, it will also be reassuring that the new cobalt chrome copings and frameworks are from a certified source and are free from nickel, beryllium and cadmium,’ he added.

The DMLS process is sometimes described as ‘3D printing’ as it uses a high-power laser to fuse together successive 0.02mm-thick layers of powdered metal.

The frameworks are created from powdered cobalt chrome; when every layer has been built up, the solid copings and bridge frameworks are removed from the machine, sand blasted, polished, inspected and ultrasonically cleaned.

The DMLS process is precise and computer controlled, ensuring consistent frameworks with improved marginal fit and no possibility of inclusions, defects or distortions, which are commonly introduced in manual casting processes.

The machine can create hundreds of units at a time, meaning that the cost per unit is kept low, according to the company.

Renishaw

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

Sensors for co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are an industry standard, from basic touch-trigger probes through to automated stylus and probe changers, motorised indexing probe heads, and revolutionary five-axis measurement systems.

Machine probes for CNC machine tools allow automated tool setting, workpiece set-up, in-cycle gauging and part inspection. Products include laser tool setters, contact tool setters, tool breakage detectors, touch probes and high accuracy inspection probes.

For motion control, Renishaw supplies laser encoders, optical linear encoders, optical angle encoders, optical rotary encoders, magnetic rotary encoders, magnetic chip encoders and magnetic linear encoders.

To analyse the static and dynamic performance of position-critical motion systems, Renishaw’s laser interferometer and environmental compensation system offers a linear measurement accuracy of 0.5 ppm, readings of up to 50 kHz and a linear measurement speed of up to 4 m/s, with a linear resolution of 1nm.

Renishaw’s Raman spectroscopy products exploit the Raman effect to identify and characterise the chemistry and structure of materials. A diverse range of analytical applications include pharmaceutical, forensic science, nanotechnology, biomedical and semiconductors.

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