The Industry Analysis  May 29, 2019

HP is collaborating with SmileDirectClub to extend the production of its customized clear aligners at the RAPID+TCT. SmileDirectClub, the Nashville-based teledentistry firm, has raised its investment in HP 3Dprintng solutions with the recent deal. The company plans to operate 49 HP Jet Fusion 3D printing systems 24/7, to produce over 50,000 unique mouth molds per day, which is an equivalent to nearly 20 million molds over the next year. Additionally, the pair has also announced a new recycling program, where leftover 3D material and existing processed plastic mouth molds are recycled and turned into pellets for injection molding. This partnership makes SmileDirectClub’s production unit, the largest HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D Production Factory in the United States.

SmileDirectClub, founded in 2014, is engaged in making personalized clear aligners with partners from its digital network of state-licensed dentists and orthodontists. The company claims to have nearly 500,000 customers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada and is working on expanding its reach to Australia and the United Kingdom in this year. The company states that approximately 80 percent of the United States population need orthodontic care; however, only 1 percent receives it every year. The cost of dental care and the lack of orthodontists for certain treatments are blamed for these statistics. This is the main reason for the company’s deal with HP to provide inexpensive, customized clear aligners and other teeth-straightening treatments.

HP is credited with manufacturing the award-winning Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printers. Christoph Schell, President, of 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing at HP Inc. has commented that the two corporations are reinventing the future of orthodontics, exploring concepts like personalized 3D mass production and giving people access to affordable, high-quality teeth-straightening. Align Technology, a rival company, claims to have 3D printed 500,000 unique parts for Invisalign clear aligners.