Formlabs has today made a series of announcements, including the acquisition of its primary materials supplier, Spectra Group Photopolymers LLC, and the establishment of a new business wholly dedicated to the growing dental market: Formlabs Dental.
In business for over 20 years and with extensive experience in photochemistry, organic synthetic chemistry and UV/EB radiation cure, Spectra Group Photopolymers became a key supplier of resin materials for Formlabs’ 3D printing technologies. The acquisition of Spectra by Formlabs therefore strengthens the latter’s vertical integration and is expected to lead to faster material development.
As part of the acquisition, Formlabs will invest over a million dollars to establish a new biocompatible manufacturing facility within Spectra’s existing site. The new facility will be an FDA-registered, ISO Class 8 certified clean room within an ISO 13485 certified facility for dental and medical materials development.
“From the beginning, it’s been important that Formlabs provide a reliable and accessible printing process,” commented Max Lobovsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Formlabs. “Supporting a successful print process meant rigorous engineering, innovative material development, and enabling a seamless end-to-end process for our users. Most 3D printing companies are not vertically integrated and don’t have access to their own resin manufacturing, but we believe materials are a critical component in opening up new applications, workflows and disrupting industries.”
Despite focusing on Formlabs materials, Spectra will retain some autonomy, by continuing to serve its existing customers “without interruptions.” The company says it will also continue to work with and support independent business developments where appropriate.
In addition to the acquisition announcement, Formlabs has also launched Formlabs Dental, a new business unit that will focus on the dental 3D printing market. The launch is accompanied by the release of a new 3D printer, the Form 3B dental 3D printer and materials, including Surgical Guide Resin and four new shades in the Digital Dentures series.
It is so surprise that the SLA specialist is honing in on the dental market: the company is already an important supplier of 3D printing products to small and medium-sized dental labs. The new business, which will be made up of a team of dental professionals, will bring more dedicated products and solutions to market to address the growing number of 3D printing applications and increasing demand in the dental sector.
“Today’s announcement is a further validation of Formlabs continued commitment to the dental market,” said Stephan Kreimer, manager at Kreimer Dentallabor GmbH & Co. KG. “The new Form 3B, Surgical Guide Resin and Dental Service Plan empower users to expand upon their current workflows to become digital.”
To date, Formlabs has over 10 materials compatible with the new Form 3B dental 3D printer, including the new Surgical Guide Resin and four new shades of its Dentures material. Other materials, such as its legacy Dental SG and Dental LT materials, are continually being improved through print setting adjustments.
Looking more closely at the Form 3B dental 3D printer, Formlabs says it is suitable for a wide range of dental applications, such as 3D printing crown and bridge models, clear aligner and retainer models, diagnostic models, surgical guides, occlusal splints, patterns for casting and pressing, and dentures.
Notably, the new 3D printer release is accompanied by the launch of the Formlabs Materials Partner Program, which will enable third party manufacturers to qualify and bring to market relevant materials for the Form 3B. Formlabs Dental will also come with a Service Plan, which will support clients throughout adoption with personalized in-person or video training, priority email and phone support, and hot swapping printers for nonstop production.