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Endo Tribune Asia Pacific Edition

21 Endo Tribune Asia Pacific Edition | 11/2016 ENDO BUSINESS to allow sterile packaging after the washing procedure. An automated packing facility sorts all of the in- struments into boxes and blister packs. The instruments are then deposited into crates within the clean room environment. Employ- ees line these with sterile bags and they are then sealed with lids in the clean room area and sent for final packaging. They are marked to indicate sterilisation status. VDW sends the goods for sterilisation again before shipping in order to ensure that there are no bacteria when they leave the warehouse. If desired by a customer, a small laser can be used to mark the blis- ters for individual needs. The warehouse follows a cha- otic storage process—in a positive sense. With storage locations de- fined according to aisles, the prod- ucts are stored in available spaces where they fit best, rather than ac- cording to category. This allows for the most efficient use of space. The system tracks the available spaces, scans the goods and knows auto- matically when sufficient goods have been removed. Each order is digitised and production begins immediately after receipt. Because the logistics and production are precisely controlled according the number of each product, there is no over- or underproduction. At the time of the visit, an employee was preparing a few pallets for China (Fig. 4). Everything is monitored Even more impressive than the almost fully automated produc- tion is the monitoring technology. The specially developed camera system is probably one of the most advanced in the dental industry. One example is the ring marking. Each ring is checked for diameter, width and colour application. The system will then indicate “green”, signifying that all is OK, or “red” to flag a problem (Fig. 5). Instruments with no ring colour are automa- tically removed. Another camera checks the twisting of reamers and files according to length and degree of twisting, preventing any warped instruments from going any fur- ther in the production process. Yet another camera checks the barbs on the broaches. A further camera monitors the status of the boxes and blisters and verifies the geom- etries of the instruments and their colours by means of images. The camera detects the tiniest devia- tions in the instruments and pack- aging—even individual particles— and these packs are separated auto- matically. Another camera checks the labels. If there has been a print- ing error or an incorrect label has been used, the affected item is immediately separated by the ma- chine. Each process step undergoes quality control by camera (Fig. 6). This means that no rejects proceed to the next stage. “The longer a de- fective item is in the production process, the greater the associated costs incurred. A single defective file in a blister means that the en- tire pack must be removed,” ex- plained Picard. In this way, the company guarantees the safety and quality of its products and fulfils the strict regulatory require- ments. Tried and tested and constant change Even after 145 years, manual work still has its place in produc- tion. Each reamer and file are elab- orately finished by hand (Fig. 7). VDW initially wished to automate this manual work too, but the em- ployees are so good at their work that they can produce the tip with exactly the required cutting angle very quickly. Thirty-five million in- struments therefore include some manual production and additional inspections. In another respect too, people remain central at VDW. Throughout the building complex, there are boxes and blackboards for idea generation where employees can give their suggestions. Particu- larly good ideas are rewarded. This may be one of the reasons that every employee appeared to be so focused—but friendly and recep- tive too. Most of the employees have been with the company for many years, have detailed knowl- edge of the processes and partici- pate actively, according to Picard. Production is being restruc- tured currently with the individ- ual injection moulding machines being combined, creating dedi- cated areas within the manufac- turing process. Monitoring by cam- era will ensure that no products are mixed up or swapped. The restruc- turing process is to be completed by the end of the year, but may require additional changes once VDW buys and installs more new machines “It is extremely impor- tant to us to improve ourselves and remainatthecuttingedge.Wehave to keep pace with the dynamics of the market and steer them,” stated Picard. Although many of the older, mostly green-coloured, machines are still running without problems and an in-house workshop moni- tors and repairs the equipment, replacement parts are often not available. “Therefore, we feel new acquisitions are a better invest- ment. Provided there is proper jus- tification, the group opts for new grinding and injection moulding machines rather than trying to get the last out of the old machines. As a result, a new technology centre is created almost every two years.” Achieving German quality requires German thinking. That nasty term “file breakage” During the tour, the term “file breakage” came up often. All den- tists are familiar with the nuisance of an instrument breakage, for both themselves and their patients. There are many reasons for a break- age, ranging from a complicated root canal anatomy to incorrect preparation techniques or poor processing of materials. In the case of severely curved root canals es- pecially, the file fragment can only be removed with a great deal of pa- tience. As recently as 30 years ago, stainless-steel instruments with only a rotational cutting action led to frequent file breakage. The cut- ting action of reciprocating instru- ments, however, virtually rules out file breakage if these instruments are used correctly. To further re- duce the likelihood of breakage, dentists should opt for torque- controlled motors instead of hand instruments. The motor detects when the pressure on the instrument is too high and prevents breakage with a backward movement. Fur- thermore, material fatigue is re- duced if files are used only once. JustinAugust,VDWannounced the next generation of reciprocat- ing root canal preparation instru- ments with RECIPROC blue, reduc- ing the possibility of file breakage even further. Owing to a new pro- duction process, the files are signif- icantly more flexible, and the den- tist can prebend the instruments in order to gain easier access to severely curved canals. These new properties are made possible by a particular heating protocol. Once the RECIPROC instruments have been manufactured according to the proven process followed, they are subjected to a heating process that is specified in detail. This changes the molecular structure of the NiTi in such a way that the RECIPROC instrument acquires the additional properties described. The colour of the file changes to blue owing to the heating pro- cess. Otherwise, the application of RECIPROC blue is the same and it can be used with the tried-and- trusted VDW endodontic motors. RECIPROC blue will be available in the coming months. A specific focus on Asia VDW is focusing particularly on this prospering region at the moment. With an annual growth rate of 5 per cent, China, India and South Korea are currently among the most important markets for endodontic instruments. “We feel that there is an increasing need for safe, high-quality root canal ther- apy in these countries. Only several years ago, hardly anyone was talk- ing about reciprocating instru- ments, endodontic motors with in- tegrated apex locators or root canal irrigation systems like our EDDY. Particularly in the last five years, however, we have witnessed an increasing demand for them, espe- cially as standards of living con- tinue to improve,” said Di Hu, Ex- port Manager for Asia at VDW. Indeed, the standard of living ofthepopulationintheAsia-Pacific region has significantly improved in the last ten years. Rising salaries and improvements in health care, especially for older patients, have led to greater demand for durable endodontic instruments. Dentists in India and China cannot afford to have a file break in a root canal ei- ther. Finally, the level of informa- tion about endodontic treatment has improved in these particular countries. Dentists are progres- sively educating their patients and showing them that root canal ther- apy with the right instruments is no more unpleasant than a filling. Owing to their quality, German- manufactured products are be- coming first choice for a growing number of dentists. VDW has been represented in Japan for 60 years, and the other Asia-Pacific countries have been directly served since 2007. “The Asian market has great potential for us. Since 2015, China has been the number one market in Asia. Of course, we are continually enter- ing new markets for our products; for example, VDW has been repre- sented in Vietnam since the begin- ning of 2016,” Hu explained. For some years, VDW has been focusing more intensely on China (Fig. 8). “In June, VDW had its own stand at the Sino-Dental exhibition in Beijing. Being the largest dental trade fair in China, it attracted about 60,000 visitors. Sino-Dental went very well for VDW. We focused on established products that are al- ready successful, such as RAYPEX 6, VDW.GOLD RECIPROC motors and RECIPROC instruments. At the stand, we offered various lectures and hands-on activities, which were very well received.” There is a great need for infor- mation on and products for endo- dontic treatment in China and its neighbouring countries. However, Germany and Europe remain home and the most important market for VDW. Therefore, the company’s production facilities in Munich will remain and be steadily ex- panded, reflecting the company’s commitment to German quality. 6 7 8 78

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