DÜRR DENTAL is well-known to dentists across Australia and indeed the world thanks to its powerhouse range of plant room equipment, innovative imaging solutions and hygiene products. This year, the German family-owned business, based in Bietigheim-Bissingen, north of Stuttgart, is celebrating its 80th anniversary.
Dürr Dental is currently led by CEO Martin Dürrstein, the third generation of the Dürr family, and we caught up with him recently following the end of the COVID-delayed International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany.
"IDS this year was a solid event for Dürr Dental," Mr Dürrstein said. "Attendance was lower due to COVID but equally, the quality of the visitors was high. This event was of course part of the celebration of our 80th anniversary and we launched several new products and updates to our range.
"At Dürr Dental, we focus on what we call our three product pillars. We have imaging; we have air and suction; and we also have the hygiene line. So at the IDS, we launched the new Silver Airline compressors that are designed to be far more efficient and we updated our Power Tower solution with the Power Tower View range. We introduced a new surgical suction system designed for surgical purposes and we launched the new VistaScan Ultra View X-ray scanner plus AI enhancements to our VistaSoft imaging software."
Mr Dürrstein said that the brand new Tyscor+ suction range is an ideal example of a product that typifies Dürr Dental's development goals, consuming 50% less energy and utilising completely new demand-driven smart technology.
"The Tyscor+ range is designed to grow with your practice," he said. "If you extend your practice, you can add another suction unit that works in sync with the existing unit, rather than replacing it altogether. Up to three Tyscor+ suction motors can be connected to work as a team. As the demand on suction increases, the number of motors operating increases thanks to a system of smart communication. This increases the lifespan of our products, reduces energy consumption and reduces waste.
New Products at IDS 2021
- VistaScan Ultra View PSP scanner
- VistaSoft 3.0 imaging software with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Hygoclave 50 / 50+ autoclaves
- Tyscor + suction range
- Silver Airline compressor range
- Power Tower View range
"Currently, our team is focused on smart solutions like this for the dental practice. We're developing cloud-based software and equipment, which can be connected and linked together. Our VistaSoft Cloud for example allows you to share X-ray images quickly and directly with other dentists or specialists.
"With the new VistaSoft 3.0, Dürr Dental brings artificial intelligence into the dental practice and increases the efficiency of everyday tasks. One new AI feature automatically rotates and adjust the X-ray images stored in a patient's file for instance. Another feature is automatic tracing of the inferior alveolar nerve in 3D X-rays. These are small time savers but this use of artificial intelligence will continue to expand and cumulatively save a great deal of time by automating numerous tasks.
"R&D is a big part of our history. Today, we invest almost 10% of our revenue in R&D and the R&D team accounts for 14% of our workforce. We consider it a core competancy. And if you ask what are we working on? The answer is that we are continuously working on each of the three pillars. How do we make each better for the environment, more energy efficient, more intuitive for the user and how do we increase connectivity, particularly for things like predictive maintenance. So we are continually working on the 'next version' of our products. We just launched the new VistaScan Ultra View imaging plate scanner at IDS, but already we're thinking of what will the next generation be because a good product takes 3 or 4 years in R&D to be developed."
Mr Dürrstein said that the company is also heavily invested in software development, particularly for its imaging products, including the use of artificial intelligence.
"We develop a lot of our software in-house, but it's also important that our software is open to additional features being added from elsewhere. In the area of artificial intelligence, for example, two hands are not enough to count the number of start-up companies developing solutions to make the doctor and the assistant's life easier. We work with some of these to introduce innovation into our own software more rapidly than if we developed it in-house alone.
"It is a great benefit for our customers that we adopt an open architecture for our software, making it open to new developments for greater ease of use or increased diagnostic capabilities."
For 80 years, the Dürr Dental brand has been known for high end products "Made in Germany" and technical innovations. How did it all start? With a root canal treatment and a broken dental drill!
80 years ago, Frida Dürr, the wife of precision engineer Wilhelm Dürr, had to visit the dentist. But during the root canal treatment, the dental drill broke and because it was very difficult to get new equipment because of World War II, the dentist had to finish the treatment manually.
Knowing about Wilhelm Dürr's technical skills, the dentist gave his patient the broken drill to take home. It worked out: although Wilhelm Dürr had never repaired dental equipment before, he managed to fix it.
That's how Dürr, who ran a precision workshop with his brother Karl, discovered a gap in the market almost accidentally. The brothers established their business in the dental industry and today, Dürr Dental is known as one of the international leaders in the market.
The name Dürr Dental stands for innovation and a proud history of countless developments and enhancements in modern dentistry. The invention of the suction system enabled dentists to treat their patients lying down for the first time - a major step forward in dental care. Dürr Dental has pioneered the development of effective spray mist extraction systems and the company also invented oil-free dental compressors. Dürr Dental has steadily refined and developed this technology and remains the industry specialist for what it calls the oil-free "heart of the practice" to this day.
Dürr Dental also has a pioneering role in value-preserving hygiene, low-pain therapy and with products offering the best protection for the practice team and the patient. This position has been further strengthened in recent times. Milestones in imaging, such as image plate technology, round off the extensive portfolio of Dürr Dental.
"We don't just make dental products, we also accept responsibility for each product we sell in the dental field," Mr Dürrstein said. "Therefore, it's essential for us to provide training, expertise and excellent service. Our customers' and their patients' satisfaction are of utmost importance to us. As a result, the Dürr Dental Academy offers some 140 seminars for dental staff, technicians and students each year."
After 80 years of innvoation and success, what does the next 80 years hold for Dürr Dental?
"That's a good question," Mr Dürrstein said. "Right now, we're looking forward to the next decade and beyond. Again, our big drivers are connectivity of products and environmental friendliness. So from a big picture perspective, our development focusses on these two areas and then of course, we still need to innovate and continuously develop our products across the three pillars to take them to the next level. Making products better for the environment includes making them more energy efficient, longer lasting and more versatile. So keep watching this space."