HP Inc and SmileDirectClub, a pioneer of teledentistry and a leader in doctor-directed, remote clear aligner therapy, announced an expanded collaboration to revolutionize the way that millions of people can achieve a straighter smile. SmileDirectClub is powering its digital differentiation and rapid manufacturing expansion of clear aligners with HP's Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions, making it the largest producer of Multi Jet Fusion 3D printed parts in the USA. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing in the Medical and Dental Industry 2019-2029.
Disrupting the 120-Year-Old Orthodontics Industry
SmileDirectClub co-founders Alex Fenkell and Jordan Katzman first met as teens with metal braces at summer camp, later deciding that innovations in technology and telehealth could democratize access to safe, affordable, and convenient orthodontic care. Founded in 2014, SmileDirectClub is a market leader of the doctor-directed clear aligner industry, utilizing its digital network of state licensed dentists and orthodontists who prescribe teeth straightening treatment plans and manage all aspects of clinical care from diagnosis through the completion of treatment using its proprietary teledentistry platform. SmileDirectClub is growing rapidly, having already served more than half a million customers in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, with plans to expand to Australia and the UK in 2019.
"SmileDirectClub is digitally transforming the traditional orthodontics industry, making it more personal, affordable, and convenient for millions of consumers to achieve a smile they'll love," said Alex Fenkell, co-founder, SmileDirectClub. "HP's breakthrough 3D printing and data intelligence platform makes this level of disruption possible for us, pushing productivity, quality, and manufacturing predictability to unprecedented levels, all with economics that allow us to pass on savings to the consumers seeking treatment using our teledentistry platform."
HP 3D Printing Accelerates SmileDirectClub's Manufacturing Growth
HP 3D printing technology is powering SmileDirectClub's disruptive business model and rapid growth. HP Jet Fusion 3D printing solutions produce all of the mouth molds for each patient's aligners and retainers, creating an average of more than 50,000 personalized mouth molds each day. To keep up with increased consumer demand, SmileDirectClub has more than doubled its investment in HP 3D printing solutions to now include a fleet of 49 HP Jet Fusion 4210 3D printers and anticipates printing nearly 20 million mouth molds over the next 12 months alone.
"SmileDirectClub and HP are reinventing the future of orthodontics, pushing the boundaries of customized 3D mass production and democratizing access to affordable, high-quality teeth straightening for millions of people," said Christoph Schell, President of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP Inc. "Through this collaboration, HP is helping SmileDirectClub accelerate its growth, enabling a new era of personalized consumer experiences only made possible by industrial 3D printing and digital manufacturing."
New Joint Recycling Program Enables a More Sustainable Future
3D printing is not only driving the next industrial revolution, but can also help provide a sustainable one. Furthering that effort, HP and SmileDirectClub also announced a new recycling program, in which excess 3D material and already processed plastic mouth molds are recycled by HP and turned into pellets for traditional injection molding, leading to more sustainable production.
The overall sustainability benefits of 3D printing are vast, and include helping to reduce the amount of materials used, shortening and simplifying traditional supply chains, better matching of supply and demand, as well as improving service options that can prolong the life of products. 3D printed parts can also reduce the weight of vehicles and aircraft to improve fuel efficiency, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption.
Source and top image: HP