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Dental Tribune U.S. Edition

Nordic masters of dentistry Industry News DENTAL TRIBUNE | December 201114A Being a socially responsible com- pany with a clear vision is one thing. Being at the top of the trade for more than 40 years is another. The Finn- ish dental manufacturer Planmeca is both. Established in the early 1970s, when computer technology prom- ised to open a new world in industrial design, the company was the first to incorporate microprocessors in its dental units. Since then, this idea has spawned a new age for dental technology equipment and has set the standard for a whole industry for decades to come. Owing to this fact, one might reduce Planmeca’s expertise only to dental units, such as the slick and ergonomic Compact i or their flag- ship product, Sovereign. But over the years the company has also regularly launched a number of sophisticated dental X-ray devices and imaging software onto the market that have become household names not only in dental practices worldwide, but also in rather unlikely places such as United States military bases. Over- all, the Planmeca Group with its six affiliates generates a turnover of €700 million worldwide (according to its own estimates), a number that puts Planmeca easily on par with other dental industry giants such as Sirona Dental Systems or KaVo. It may seem unusual that all this success happened to be and is still generated from a rather unremark- able site in Herttoniemi, an old indus- trial district six miles east of Helsin- ki’s city center. There, the company recently completed the expansion of its premises by more than one-third to almost 538,000 square feet, an area so large that it could now accommo- date more than seven soccer fields. Besides administrative offices, the new shiny glass façade that reflects the Nordic blue sky on sunny days hides buzzing production facilities and a fully automated warehouse with robotic forklifts on the ground level. “Planning the building started only in April last year, and despite the extremely rough winter condi- tions, construction stayed on sched- ule,” said Heikki Kyöstila, president and owner, looking back on the last 18 months. “With the new produc- tion premises, we can respond to the increased demand more effectively.” The 65-year-old Finn and recre- ational golfer, who founded Plan- meca in 1971 as a small-scale import business and has remained its presi- dent and that of its medical device subsidiary Planmed ever since, envi- sions a bright future for his company, especially in view of the number of new products launched at the Inter- national Dental Show in Cologne, Germany, this year. The centerpiece of this recent market initiative is its Digital Perfection Integration con- cept, which, according to Planmeca, offers a revolutionary means of com- bining data collected from differ- ent 3-D imaging devices to provide dental surgeons with more detailed clinical knowledge in the preopera- tive phase. In terms of hardware, dental pro- fessionals recently saw the launch of two new versions of Planmeca’s cone-beam volumetric tomography (CBVT) unit ProMax 3D, which now provides an extended selection of 3-D volume sizes ranging from 34 x 42 mm to 16 x 16 cm and comes with an integrated 3-D face-scan unit called ProFace, thus enabling clinicians to capture a realistic 3-D photo of a patient’s face in stand-alone mode or in combination with a CBVT scan. According to Planmeca Vice Presi- dent of Digital Imaging Helianna Puhlin-Nurminen, the system not only reduces radiation exposure to patients, but also assures enhanced clinical and esthetic outcomes. In addition, intra-oral surface data can now be integrated into den- tal units with the new Planmeca PlanScan scanner, available as a cart delivery system and with open connectivity, which was designed to enable dentists to capture the com- plete intra-oral situation of a patient and save it as a 3-D model for imme- diate design without the need for fabricating a physical model. All this is brought together in the Romexis software, which has recent- ly been expanded with a stand- alone application for iPhone and iPad devices for clinicians to access and share 2-D and 3-D images via mobile networks worldwide. With the iRomexis application, for the first time dentists also have a free native application with true 3-D surface model rendering in the palm of their hands, a representative of the com- pany said. For Kyöstila, however, this is only the beginning of a new age in dentistry. According to him, it all comes down to his company’s solu- tion-oriented thinking and passion to achieve a perfect workflow for dental surgeries. “We believe the best way to design cutting-edge products that really meet the needs of our customers is to listen to them closely,” he concluded. “Observing and learning from their workflow helps us to understand the significance of the smallest details that can make a world of difference to the user.” DT In its 40th year, Planmeca closes in on a fully integrated workflow By Daniel Zimmermann Dental Tribune International Planmeca president Heikki Kyöstila demonstrating a panel that controls the new automated warehouse. (Photos/ Daniel Zimmermann, Dental Tribune International) This new 538,000-square-foot facility in Herttoniemi, Finland, houses Planmeca’s production facilities and robotic-forklift-equipped warehouse.