Orthodontics Manufacturer to Install 49 HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Printers

For decades, we’ve used HP technology for computing, printing, and copying, and more, but it will soon be used to give us a better smile. Today at Rapid 2019, North America’s largest 3D printing conference, HP Inc. and orthodontics manufacturer SmileDirectClub announced that SmileDirectClub will deploy 49 HP Jet Fusion 3D printers that will run 24×7, producing more than 50,000 unique mouth molds a day, making SmileDirectClub the largest producer of Multi Jet Fusion 3D-printed parts in the United States.

SmileDirectClub is said to be a pioneer of teledentistry and market leader in doctor-directed, remote dental aligner therapy.

“SmileDirectClub is digitally transforming the traditional orthodontics industry, making it more personal, affordable, and convenient for millions of consumers to achieve a smile they’ll love,” commented Alex Fenkell, co-founder of SmileDirectClub. “HP’s breakthrough 3D-printing and data-intelligence platform makes this level of disruption possible for us, pushing productivity, quality, and manufacturing predictability to unprecedented levels, all with economics that allow us to pass on savings to the consumers seeking treatment using our teledentistry platform.”

Disrupting the 120-Year-Old Orthodontics Industry

Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub, which is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, is said to be the market leader of the doctor-directed clear aligner industry, using its digital network of state-licensed dentists and orthodontists who prescribe teeth straightening treatment plans and manage all aspects of clinical care from diagnosis through the completion of treatment using its proprietary teledentistry platform. SmileDirectClub is said to be  growing rapidly, having already served more than half a million customers in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, with plans to expand to Australia and the U.K. in 2019.

An estimated 80 percent of Americans could benefit from orthodontic care, yet only 1 percent receive it each year, with cost being the biggest prohibitive issue. In the U.S., 60 percent of counties do not have access to an orthodontist. By leveraging the benefits of teledentistry coupled with HP’s 3D-printing technology, SmileDirectClub says it’s bridging these gaps, offering customers a straighter smile at a cost up to 60-percent less than traditional options.

SmileDirectClub and its manufacturing partners rely on HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions to produce all of the mouth molds for each patient’s aligners and retainers, creating an average of more than 50,000 personalized mouth molds each day. To keep up with increased consumer demand, SmileDirectClub has more than doubled its investment in HP 3D printing solutions to now include a fleet of 49 HP Jet Fusion 4210 3D printers and anticipates printing nearly 20 million mouth molds over the next 12 months alone.

Christoph Schell, president of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP Inc., commented: “SmileDirectClub and HP are reinventing the future of orthodontics, pushing the boundaries of customized 3D mass production and democratizing access to affordable, high-quality teeth straightening for millions of people. Through this collaboration, HP is helping SmileDirectClub accelerate its growth, enabling a new era of personalized consumer experiences only made possible by industrial 3D printing and digital manufacturing.”

New Joint Recycling Program

According to HP, 3D printing is not only driving the next industrial revolution, but can also help provide a sustainable one. Furthering that effort, today HP and SmileDirectClub also announced a new recycling program, in which excess 3D material and already processed plastic mouth molds are recycled by HP and turned into pellets for traditional injection molding, leading to more sustainable production.

HP also says the overall sustainability benefits of 3D printing are vast, and include helping to reduce the amount of materials used, shortening, and simplifying traditional supply chains, better matching of supply and demand, as well as improving service options that can prolong the life of products. 3D-printed parts can also reduce the weight of vehicles and aircraft to improve fuel efficiency, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption.

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