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01 Sep 2006 | eLABORATE

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Home grown CAD/CAM system launches

Glacier Technologies launched with much fanfare in Sydney in July at Telstra Stadium amid a gala dinner that included many of Australia's most noted ceramists and dentists.


"The response we've had to Glacier has been remarkable," said Georges Sara, CEO and key man in the development of the new system. "We set out to develop an Australian CAD/CAM system that could provide dentists and ceramists with rapid turnaround, high quality Zirconia crown and bridge copings and ended up with so much more.

"With Glacier, we have been able to break new ground with a true next generation system that delivers unprecedented versatility in areas such as custom implant abutment design and more."

The evening included a parade of programmers, engineers and other experts in their fields who spoke on their involvement in the development of the system. Mr Russell Young from Omega Ceramics also related his experiences as an early tester of the system.

Mr Wolfram Weber from Metoxit AG in Switzerland flew out for the event and delivered a presentation on the dental materials technology related to the system. Metoxit supply the Ziroconia for many other dental CAD/CAM systems and their material was chosen as the basis for Glacier as well.

Mr Sara then presented the Glacier business model which centres around an industrial grade milling centre located in the Sydney suburb of Burwood with a current capacity of over 60,000 units a year. Laboratories can send work for scanning and milling, however the evening concentrated on the benefits and cost-effectiveness of purchasing a scanner and delivering work to the system via the internet.

"Centralised milling has a big future," Mr Sara said. "it's a proven and enduring model and it makes a lot of sense financially for labs to invest in a scanner alone. The Glacier scanner is very versatile and will precision scan everything from a single coping or abutment to a bridge of any size. In addition, it will act as a front-end to the burgeoning trend of scanning and digitally archiving study models that can later be reconstituted using rapid prototyping technology with 3D printers."

As part of the launch, an introductory offer was announced whereby purchasers of the scanner package for $42,000 receive the first 100 units free of charge which, if taken in implant abutments, could equate to up to $20,000 in value. The regular price of a crown coping for labs with a scanner is $85 and bridges are $120 per unit.

"We have many plans for the future, but right now, the crux of it is that if you purchase a Glacier scanner, you can scan and design your coping, bridge or abutment in a few minutes, transmit it to the milling centre and receive it back in 3 days perfectly replicated in sintered Zirconia. And that's a pretty good start."

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