The human factor will remain indispensable in dental technology. The expertise, skills and esthetic judgment of the dental technician will always remain essential to the work in the dental lab. Yet, human beings are not always perfect - and they are therefore sometimes a source of error.
This is where smart technology and intelligent software solutions come in. They help minimize risks and enhance the reliability of processes and results. These aspects also come into play in conventional areas such as the press technique.
Press furnaces with fully automated press function
Liechtenstein-based lab owner Christian Seger always keeps an open mind about useful innovations. Recently, he has been using a technical innovation that facilitates the press procedure and makes it more tolerant of deviations. The talk is about the fully automated press function (FPF), which is a feature of the EP 3010 and EP 5010 press furnaces.
See what he says about it.
Mr Seger, how did you get along with the new Programat EP 5010 and the FPF function when you first used it?
Christian Seger: We have been familiar with the press technology from Ivoclar Vivadent for over 15 years now. It was therefore no big deal for us to get used to the new Programat EP 5010. Initially, I was surprised about the claim that short transfer times were no longer as important with the FPF as with the previous technology. Likewise, exact calibration of the preheating furnace for loading the investment ring does no longer seem to be as crucial as it used to be. I remember that these points used to be especially emphasized when we did our training in the past. They were considered indispensable for achieving beautiful press results.
What were your first results like?
Christian Seger: The first press runs did not quite go to plan: cracks occurred in the investment ring. However, the source of error was soon identified: We accidentally used investment material that was outdated and not recommended for the FPF technique.
There was a second reason for our initial mishaps: We used the wrong mixing time for the new investment material (IPS PressVest Premium): We continued to mix the material for 2 minutes instead of the recommended 1.5 minutes. The consequences were not a long time coming. However, once we changed over to the new investment material and started using the appropriate mixing time, everything went smoothly. We have achieved excellent press results ever since. Guidelines need to be watched.
What are the advantages of the fully automated press function?
Christian Seger: Talking about the restorations, I especially like the high accuracy of fit and the beautiful surface texture. Operating the press furnace is extremely easy and user friendly with the FPF. The process runs completely automatically. The dialogue between the user and the machine, or the user interface, is even easier and more convenient than before.
What exactly does the FPF do?
Christian Seger: The FPF uses a completely new approach - even if the manufacturer still recommends carrying out all preparatory steps (preheating the investment ring, transfer time, etc.) as usual. However, the system is more forgiving if one or the other aspect is not carried out absolutely according to the specifications. The FPF technology will compensate for slight discrepancies.
After the program has been started, the force sensor measures and evaluates the consistency of the press ceramic on an ongoing basis. The software recognizes the time when the ceramic has become sufficiently fluid and reached an ideal state for pressing. At this point, the fully automated press process is initiated. If the temperature of the investment ring was too low when it was transferred from the preheating to the press furnace, this now no longer affects the press process adversely. The FPF technology automatically compensates for the deviation in temperature. It continues to heat the investment ring until the correct parameters have been reached. Only then will the press process proper start. This way, application errors can be largely avoided.
In sum, what do you think of the fully automated press function?
Christian Seger: Users no longer need to follow the instructions as meticulously as before, except when they are investing. Under certain circumstances, the press process is even faster than before. When it comes to the reaction layer and accuracy of fit, the press results are impressive. In a nutshell, the press process is easier, faster, more comfortable and more tolerant of deviations than before. Simply press the FPF button and let the furnace do the rest. I no longer have to think about the material that I use and find the appropriate program for it. This is a great step forward in press technology. I am impressed with the FPF and I can only recommend it.
Are you unsure about the correct way to calibrate your dental furnace? Then you are in good company. These are questions often asked by dental technicians: (Why) Do ceramic furnaces need to be calibrated? Which options are there? Which is the best method? The most important answers can be found here. In this checklist, we have put together the most important tips on calibration.
About the person:
Christian Seger grew up in Vaduz/Liechtenstein. He trained as a dental technician in a dental practice in Liechtenstein from 1986 to 1990. He then took up employment as a dental technician. From 1991 onwards, he worked for several months in a dental lab in London, followed by laboratories in Bern and Zurich (Switzerland). In 1995, he opened his own dental lab in Triesen/Liechtenstein.
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