10 Questions with Flemming Thorup, President and CEO of 3Shape

March 19, 2013

01. How did 3Shape first enter the dental marketplace?

01. How did 3Shape first enter the dental marketplace?

Following a few years focused on establishing our 3D scanner and CAD software technology in other health care industry segments, we were ready to develop and offer our acclaimed technology to prospective dental partners. The first major partner of ours was Wieland Dental of Germany, which since then has used our 3D scanners and software solutions in the systems they provide worldwide.

02. What is the biggest change since 3Shape entered the dental market?

Without doubt the penetration of CAD/CAM.

03. 3Shape has a reputation for innovation and a continuous flow of new technological solutions. How do you achieve this?

Our company was founded on innovation and innovation remains the key driver of our growth. Because of this, we continuously invest in innovation, partially by gathering the best 3D software and hardware development experts. Today we employ more than 130 developers along with experienced dental technicians and dentists, and we maintain close cooperation with dental professionals and labs around the world where new ideas are born and our solutions are evaluated in actual lab and clinical work. We encourage our staff to seek new ways labs can achieve their business goals. Innovation is simply part of our corporate DNA. 

04. Why does 3Shape develop and deliver both CAD software and 3D scanners?

3D scanners and design software integrated into one system give many advantages in terms of system performance, smooth workflows and thus the overall speed for completing cases. Our CAD/CAM technology gives the software maximum control over the incoming data and this makes it easier to fully use the complete spectrum of 3D in our workflows and solutions. 3Shape’s scanners capture information such as color and texture data that the software is specifically designed to use for better designs. We can also maintain our principles of openness and flexible interfacing in all our system components.

05. What type of lab is best suited to add a 3Shape scanner?

In today’s competitive market, labs of any size can benefit from CAD/CAM because CAD/CAM systems can be matched to a lab’s specific business models making them better investments. That’s why 3Shape offers both entry level and advanced solutions for both scanners and software. With the rapid development of the new materials for prosthetic restorations, one must apply CAD/CAM and digitize the dental restorative process to take full advantage. In our experience, CAD/CAM has the potential to open up new business opportunities.

06. How does 3Shape help labs using its system stay up to date with the latest innovations?

3Shape believes a dynamic and continuously up-to-date system should be a natural trait of any CAD/CAM solution for labs. We include unlimited upgrading as an integral part of our LabCare™ package and customer promise. For labs this means they can automatically and regularly empower their system with the latest technologies; their system represents a future-secure investment-it stays alive for years to come, growing stronger and more competitive every year. Another key part of our LabCare™ package is access to an efficient first and second line support network, and the 3Shape Academy that provides hands-on training, Webinars and learning materials to ensure users can use all features of their system.

07. Why is it important for 3Shape systems to “play well with others?”

3Shape envisions the age of the full digital dentistry from the dentist’s clinic all the way through manufacturing. We believe this will bring huge advantages to the whole industry, but this goal cannot be achieved as long as CAD/CAM system providers look inwards. That is why we strive to create joint interfacing and optimized compatibility with other major industry players-including our competitors. We believe that wide industry cooperation will help CAD/CAM grow. Currently, 3Shape offers the widest integration to manufacturing equipment and materials among all CAD/CAM systems.

08. Is there an area of dental CAD/CAM where you see the largest potential for growth?

We see great potential both in the high end sophisticated solutions like implant bars and major restorative constructions as well as in the design and digital production of removables. We also see growth in general business areas. We see that many labs providing supplementary services for their dentists are winning territory in relation to production-only labs. One of 3Shape’s missions is to provide service features that help labs help their dentists. We have already developed opportunities such as digital temporaries, the model builder, virtual diagnostic wax-ups, online communication tools, and we have many more service tools in the next coming release.

09. With TRIOS, 3Shape recently entered the chairside scanning market. How does this move benefit dental labs?

Digitizing the process efficiently at chairside with an intraoral scanner is a natural step in simplifying the workflow between the clinic and the lab. With the right approach, this technology brings huge advantages to both dentists and labs. TRIOS® output arrives directly in the lab’s CAD/CAM system. The system includes efficient communication and visualization tools. With the digital impression, labs can offer new digital services while providing dentists with the full scope of dental indications and technician expertise. Our chairside scanning solution is designed to strengthen labs’ ties with their dentists, and maintain the profitability of their services.

10. How do you see the future of the market and your innovations?

We foresee continued development by the material manufacturers to capitalize even more on the advantages of digitized dentistry, along with software integration of different image technologies, design and production processes, new lab-dentist service tools, communication, training, and enhanced information sharing. We aim to develop new CAD/CAM technologies that will help digital restoration production become faster and more consistent. We will continue to create solutions that directly answer challenges within the industry so labs can compete and prosper.