Corporate Profile: Ibex Dental Technologies

March 21, 2012

What motivated you to design the IBEX Summit?

What motivated you to design the IBEX Summit?

In 1996, I started Garland Dental Services, a dental laboratory equipment repair company that in a few short years was repairing various types of lab equipment for labs all across the US. As a result of repairing most major brands and makes of firing and pressing furnaces over the past 15 years, I have developed a clear understanding of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Several years ago, with some motivation from a colleague of mine, I embarked on the journey to develop a line of furnaces that would bring the qualities that everyone associates with high-end furnaces to the lab owner at an affordable price. Thus I designed the IBEX Summit.

It is IBEX Dental Technologies’ mission to make it possible that all labs, regardless of size, should be able to purchase high-quality furnaces at a low price. How do you achieve this, and what steps do you take to maintain affordability as well as quality?

Some manufacturers are known to use sales tactics that lead customers to believe that in order to have top quality they must pay top-dollar. With the IBEX Summit, that simply is not true. IBEX has integrated top quality design and components to develop a line of furnaces that rival the performance of its high dollar competitors. IBEX works aggressively to maintain strong partnerships with its vendors and to establish price breaks for its components and assemblies that help keep the price of our furnaces low and competitive. IBEX maintains quality through numerous QA tests performed on sub-assemblies during each phase of manufacture. After completion, each furnace goes through a series of in-depth performance tests that verify all aspects of system operation.

Furnaces are the “workhorses” in any lab, but they are often a valuable piece of equipment that many lab technicians don’t know much about. What, in your opinion, are the stand-out features a lab should look for in the IBEX Summit and Summit Press?

They should look for consistency with accuracy, reliability and ease of use, all at a reasonable price.

Consistency-Labs using the IBEX Summit never experience firing shifts regardless of atmospheric changes. When a lab is using more than one Summit furnace, they will see consistent performance from furnace to furnace with identical settings. In short, the results from an IBEX Summit furnace are predictable!

Reliability-When engineering the IBEX Summit, I focused on the most common failures seen in other furnaces and designed to avoid them. The Ibex Summit will provide thousands of trouble free operations and is very economical and simple to repair should service be needed

Ease of use-The user interface is the easiest and most intuitive touch screen control in the industry. It should be, it was designed by dental technicians from across the nation, each making suggestions on how to make the interface more efficient and effective to use.

What single feature separates the IBEX Summit from all the other furnaces?

While there are several features that are unique to the IBEX Summit, the one that stands out above them all would be the “Radiance Ring”. This single passive element eliminates radiant energy variations that are inherent in all muffles regardless of whether they are quartz or open wire. The energy from the heating element heats the outside of the Radiance Ring where it dissipates and spreads evenly through the ring and re-radiates on the inner surface as a continuous, homogenous band of radiant energy. There are no hot or cold spots or shadows across the firing area within the ring. I believe that this level of energy control is unparalleled in the dental industry.

How important is it to you and your customers that your furnaces are built using only American-sourced components?

For both IBEX Dental and me, it is very important, especially with today’s global market pressures, that we support our local economy wherever possible. Are dentists choosing restorations made in China over the US for quality? I think not. Many in our industry suffer from bottom line myopia, a fact many lab owners are well aware of. I believe strongly in restoring the manufacturing base of this county, and I am fortunate, being based in the Dallas area, to have access to a large, local manufacturing base that provides for most of IBEX’s manufacturing and parts needs. It is also an important factor in maintaining the quality of the various components, as it is hard to monitor quality in a timely manner when your suppliers are several time zones away or in another country. It is equally important for my customers to know that there is a furnace made in this country that performs equally with the high-end imported furnaces.

Tell us more about the Summit Press and how this combo pressing/firing furnace benefits the lab?

This is a two part answer.

First, the IBEX Summit Press was designed to press the IPS e.max® reliably at a lower cost. Labs using high-dollar pressing furnaces don’t typically experience the pressing variances with e.max® that are common in other furnaces. While we tested many different materials in the Summit Press, the primary focus was to press e.max® reliably in all its applications. When using the Summit Press as a firing furnace, you get the same consistent, accurate firings as in the porcelain furnace making the Summit Press a winning combination.

Second, I believe that, as a restorative process, pressing lithium disilicate in-house offers dental labs a unique opportunity to regain market share. Lithium disilicate can produce restorations that, aesthetically, stand head and shoulders over zirconia with a less aggressive wear characteristic. In addition, lithium disilicate offers a natural refraction index that matches natural tooth enamel. The IBEX Summit Press makes pressing lithium disilicate a cost effective alternative with a significantly lower initial cost outlay.

What can you tell us about your partnership with Spectrafire Technologies?

For years Jim Emmons of Spectrafire Technologies has been known across the dental community as a master ceramist, colorist, innovator and educator. He has brought new insight and understanding to many in the industry. Like many of Garland Dental’s customers, we had been doing business for years but had never met face to face until a chance lunch meeting arranged by a colleague of ours. Jim beta tested the Summit furnace and brought many recommendations. One of which was that I should figure a way to incorporate a metal firing ring that he was using into the muffle, which gave birth to my designing the Radiance Ring mounted in each Summit the muffle. Jim brings a wealth of technical knowledge to IBEX Dental. His knowledge has allowed me to refine the operation of both the Summit and Summit Press. He is always talking with our new and existing customers to help IBEX evolve its products that will fit in with their processes and make results predictable.

What can customers look forward to from IBEX in the future?

IBEX Dental Technologies has several new products in development. There is the IBEX Apex, a full featured burnout oven that has the capacity of a large oven but has a foot print only 2 inches larger than a medium oven. The good news is this oven will sell at a price cheaper than its competitors’ medium ovens. IBEX now has its own line of disposable plungers that are, like its furnaces, manufactured to exacting specifications here in the US. IBEX is in the final testing stages for its line of investment, die lubricant and debubblizer. Combined with the pressing quality of the Summit Press these products will work together properly to press lithium disilicate successfully with no “orange peel” surfaces and minimal reaction layer.