Inside Look: Zubler USA's VARIO DC5 wet and dry mill [VIDEO]

October 24, 2013
Ryan Hamm
Ryan Hamm

Ryan Hamm is the Editorial Director for Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics.

Issue 5

As dental labs of all sizes are beginning to invest in their own mills-and the CAM software that goes with it-it’s become a crowded field of often confusing and compelling offerings.

As dental labs of all sizes are beginning to invest in their own mills-and the CAM software that goes with it-it’s become a crowded field of often confusing and compelling offerings.

The options have become so extensive, with so many types of mills designed for specific needs, that it can be difficult for the average lab owner to make a decision. Should she buy a mill that does one thing well and dependably? Should he buy several lower cost machines to offer the widest range of materials to dental customers? Should the lab just wait for the market to settle down and continue outsourcing milling work to larger options? Is there any way for an average lab owner to make such a complicated decision?

Zubler USA hopes it has the answer to all of those questions in the new DC5 milling machine. Zubler has designed the DC5 specifically for dental applications, and it will aid the lab in the milling, grinding, drilling and cutting of all current materials.

Because the milling unit and the CAM software were developed in conjunction with one another by the same team, Zubler touts that the DC5 milling machine features “perfectly defined interfaces between the components, high process reliability and a simple and intuitive system.”

The DC5 features two separate coolant and filtration systems specifically designed for wet machining of metals, or composites and lithium disilicate. The unit also benefits from Zubler’s built in V7000 suction unit for dry milling of ZrO2, ALo2, Wax, PMMA, Composite, Splint Resins and any standard model materials.

THE VARIO DC5 MILLING MACHINE IN ACTION:

The drives of the DC5’s five axes are run with servo motors and ensure simultaneous operation; the fourth axis uses a precision gear with up to +/- 32° swivel. To avoid vibration when milling, a high-resolution feedback encoder sends 160,000 pulses per revolution to exclude step losses and the high quality ball screws allow a repeat accuracy of up to 0.01 mm. 

Additionally, although only 40-50 types of tools are needed to manufacture all current available materials, the DC5 is equipped with a tool changer system for up to 100 tools and a digital tool measuring system.

A machine built to provide options

Matt Barrett, owner of AXIS Dental Milling in La Grange, Ga., said the DC5 milling machine has become a key part of his lab, precisely because it offers so many options. “I knew the DC5 was going to be an impressive mill, but when I started using it in production it far surpassed my expectations,” Barrett said. “In a rapidly changing industry, the ability to offer a variety of materials on an open architecture platform is key. The DC5 can mill wax, zirconia, PMMA, titanium, CrCo and countless options in block materials. It covers the whole spectrum. [Additionally,] what Zubler has been able to achieve with the size is amazing. Basically, the DC5 has the capabilities of a large industrial machine with a significantly smaller footprint.”

Kurt Zubler, owner of Zubler Gerätebau GmbH (Zubler USA’s parent company), said there were three main requests from customers that led to the creation of the DC5 Milling Machine: fast and precise machining; the need for a wet and dry combination machine; and dust control. “Customers wanted faster results with the precision of a high end industrial machine, and a machine that will cut all materials available without compromising the mechanical integrity of the machine,” Zubler said. “With the DC5 you can easily switch from wet to dry in five minutes or less. [And] I think everyone can identify with the challenge of dust control. With the custom designed internal suction system, the DC5 is the epitome of dust control. Not to mention the health benefits to the users of the machine-this is accomplished by designing the suction to be right at the milling area, resulting in a much cleaner internal surface of the machine.”

A new option for lab owners

Ryan McEachern, Zubler USA’s director of CAD/CAM services, said the feedback from labs has been overwhelmingly positive. “There is one milling center that is milling up to 120 units per day on their DC5, ranging from Chrome Cobalt, to full-contour zirconia,” he said. “The labs have also liked the fact that our DS CAM software will operate most of their existing machines. The benefit of this is that this does not require labs to have to run multiple CAM stations for each different machine. Each license of CAM software has the ability to run four different machines of the customer’s choice.”

One frequent concern lab owners express about entering into the milling and CAM market is the often high initial cost for technology that may become obsolete after only a few years. So how is Zubler USA working to allay those fears? “The engineers at Zubler are constantly providing significant updates for the CAM software and the machining efficiency of the DC5,” Barrett said. “The DC5’s five-axis milling capability and industrial-grade hardware are going to allow you to take on any new material that comes to market, whether it requires wet or dry milling.”

It’s clear the DC5 represents an exciting option for lab owners looking to explore in-house milling options. And for Zubler, it’s gratifying to know their machine can help lab technicians at all levels. “A complex machine with such ease of use makes the DC5 very important to the dental lab industry,” Zubler and McEachern said. “You do not need to be an industrial machinist to operate the DC5. With this goal in mind, Zubler has presented a very robust and practical machine and has given the user abilities that most lab techs have never experienced.”

Barrett echoes this sentiment. “Laboratories want consistent results with fast turnaround times,” he said. “Zubler developed the DC5 to have the hardware, speed and ingenuity that allows me to meet my laboratory clients’ needs.”   

For more information, call 972-600-9187 or visit zublerusa.com.