Automated manufacturing of dentures
Dentures are composed of standardized, artificial teeth. The complex process is more or less the same all round the world and involves numerous manual steps along the way from molding of the individual teeth to packing complete denture sets ready for dispatch. In order to cut down on time-consuming, manual input, automated denture processing systems are used increasingly.
Pick & place systems based on industrial robots
WESTCAM Projektmanagement GmbH, settled in Tirol, specializes in developing solutions for dental technology and builds automated denture processing systems. The latest development in this environment is the WESTCAM pick & place machine. This performs the task of arranging pre-sorted false teeth on wax strips to make full sets. Four such machines have recently been installed at one of the largest denture manufacturers in Brazil.
A compact Stäubli TX40 6-axis industrial robot takes the handling of the teeth. The small precise robot gets the stored geometrical data for handling the teeth from an image processing system. A method was devised by which nine hi-tech industrial cameras assist in determining how the teeth are placed and calculating in real time the best angle of approach. Next, the tooth is selected by the vacuum pick-up head, inserted into a support block and pressed onto a pre-heated wax strip. The Stäubli TX40 is the optimum choice for this application, owing to its high repeatability of ± 0.02 mm, its operating range of 515 mm with a very compact design and its cleanroom suitability.
“We aim to use our solutions to fulfill customer needs with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, always with an eye to reliability and ease of maintenance,” says Norbert Mühlburger, CEO of WESTCAM Projektmanagement GmbH. “The decision to use Stäubli robots for our systems was not taken lightly. The global service network and level of precision at high working speeds corresponds fully with the performance that our customers expect from us.”