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Delcam wins Queen’s Award for dental CADCAM

22 April 2010

Delcam has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category in recognition of the continuous development of its software for the design and manufacture of dental restorations. This latest recognition for the company follows the receipt of Queen’s Awards in 2003 for the development of ArtCAM and for PowerINSPECT in 2004.

Delcam’s involvement in the dental area began several years ago when companies in the industry started to use the company’s PowerMILL CAM system for the machining of restorations.  The software gave immediate benefits, both in the time in which machining data could be generated, and in the speed and quality of the machining operations.

However, this early experience showed that it was difficult for dental technicians with no previous experience in CADCAM to use the system.  This was partly because they were unfamiliar with the terminology being used and so found the program difficult to learn.  Also, although the wide range of machining strategies within the software helped to ensure the high quality of the results, the inexperienced users found it difficult to select the correct options.  This meant that programming took longer than should have been necessary and that the results were not as good as they could have been.

It was apparent that a dedicated piece of software was needed for the dental industry; one that retained the power of PowerMILL but that was easier to use and incorporated familiar terminology for the dental technician.  To meet this need, Delcam developed DentMILL, a highly-automated knowledge-based program specifically designed to generate toolpaths to machine restorations.

Following early success with DentMILL, Delcam began the introduction of the partner design program, DentCAD.  Again the aim was to provide software that would be easy for dental technicians to use, regardless of their previous knowledge of computer-aided design.  To achieve this, the whole process is based on a series of intuitive “Wizards” that use dental imagery and terminology to guide the user through the entire design process.  A wide range of visualisation tools is available at every stage, which allows detailed inspection of the shape being developed.  They ensure that the finished restoration fits very accurately and comfortably in the patient’s mouth.

Continued development of the two programs means that they now offer levels of speed and accuracy that are impossible with traditional, manual methods.  High-quality restorations can now be produced within hours that would previously have taken days, thereby giving a much faster service to patients.

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