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Innovation drives our profession and DLP wants to recognize the companies at the forefront. In this Innovator Profile, DLP spoke with Anton Woolf, CEO of the Argen Corporation, about entering and innovating the SLM market.
AW: We believe metals have and always will have an important role in dentistry. I had a vision over seven years ago that the future of our industry would be moving toward a digital workflow. Our goal was to ensure that all proven products, including precious and non-precious metals, would be available in this new workflow. We began investing millions of dollars to digitize the PFM and Full Cast market; and today we have eight SLM machines, with more on the way. Although the number of metal-based restorations has declined over the years, our customers are thankful they can continue to offer reliable, proven PFM restorations to their clients through the digital workflow. Innovating with SLM technology has allowed us to make this a reality.
Q: What distinguishes Argen SLM offerings from other SLM options?
AW: Four major reasons:
1. We are the first and only manufacturer to offer all three ADA Classifications of metal through SLM technology. We offer four major product offerings including High-Noble, two Noble alloys containing 25 percent and 71 percent, respectively, and Non-Precious.
2. We are the largest alloy company in the world, which allows us to invest in R&D and develop proprietary powders.
3. We have been working with SLM technology for over seven years and have gained tremendous first-hand knowledge on improving laser melting strategies and applications. This improves our fit, finish and the structural integrity of the substructures.
4. Our superior customer service and support is crucial to our success. Our team of professionals works closely with our customers to ensure we deliver the highest quality products that they demand.
Q: How was Argen able to offer a high-noble SLM option?
AW: We have over 50 years’ experience in manufacturing precious dental alloys. Being the largest alloy manufacturer in the world, we were able to internally manufacture dozens of iterations of our final SLM High Noble product before delivering a successful product to the market. The cost to do this type of research and development would frankly be too expensive for companies without our infrastructure. We have now extended this know-how to develop the first high palladium-based alloy in the U.S. available in SLM.
Q: What advantages does Argen’s SLM workflow offer over more traditional metal work?
AW: SLM technology offers better results over traditional waxing and casting. Restorations manufactured from a digital file through SLM are extremely accurate and consistent. Labs will benefit from fewer remakes, faster workflow and reduced alloy inventory.
Q: How does SLM fit into the Argen Digital workflow?
AW: Labs upload digital design files to argendigital.com from any open architecture scanner before 3 p.m. (Pacific). We produce the products within 24 hours and ship all items in one package the next day. This means the lab receives their cases in just two business days.
Q: What other digital offerings are available from Argen?
AW: Argen has completely embraced the digital workflow, utilizing many different technologies in addition to SLM, including ArgenZ Zirconia, ArgenPMMA, ArgenWAX, Digital Captek and now ArgenIS Custom abutments. The ArgenIS Complete Custom Abutment Implant System includes screw-retained SLM substructures, zirconia hybrid substructures and full titanium abutments. Our digital model printing completes this offering, allowing a completely digital workflow, from intraoral scan to the final restoration.
Argen Digital SLM options
Argen Digital is the first and only manufacturer in the dental industry to offer High Noble, Noble and Non-Precious Selective Laser Melted (SLM) substructures. High Noble SLM substructures are available in single unit up to 6-unit bridges, Noble is available up to 3 units and Non-Precious is available in full-roundhouse. Dental laboratories submit STL files toargendigital.com by 3 p.m. (Pacific) and receive their cases in only two business days.