News | September 11, 2018

3D Systems' SLA 3D Printers Enable Align Technology's Unprecedented Use Of 3D Printing In Manufacturing

  • Collaboration between 3D Systems and Align supports highly customized production solution for more than 1.6 million Invisalign clear aligners each week

Rock Hill, SC /PRNewswire/ - 3D Systems (NYSE :DDD ), the originator of 3D printing, today announced at IMTS 2018 that Align Technology (NASDAQ :ALGN ), makers of the Invisalign system of clear aligners for straightening teeth, has increased its investment in 3D Systems' SLA 3D printing technology as part of Align's continued operational expansion and unprecedented use of 3D printing in manufacturing. The multi-year collaboration is part of Align's highly customized additive manufacturing solution that meets the needs of Align's global business.

Align Technology's vision is to bring innovative solutions to dental professionals to deliver excellent treatment outcomes and great patient experiences. Since its inception, Align has partnered with 3D Systems to create a highly customized additive manufacturing component of a unique, end-to-end manufacturing workflow that produces more than 320,000 unique medical devices (Invisalign clear aligners) per day. Align has harnessed the accuracy and scalability of 3D printing to grow its patient base nearly 6X since 2009, with more than 5.8 million patients treated globally, with each patient representing a multi-piece set of unique clear aligners. Align continues to expand and scale its operations and manufacturing, including localized production in key markets like Asia Pacific, where Align recently opened manufacturing to serve the local market. Align estimates the total Asia Pacific market for Invisalign clear aligner treatments to be 3 million cases per year. Anticipated overall market growth for the orthodontics market in China is 15 – 20 percent annually.

"Align Technology disrupted the orthodontic industry by creating a digital approach to straightening teeth that makes treatment possible for more people than ever. None of what we have been able to achieve would be possible without 3D printing technology," said Srini Kaza, vice president, product innovation, Align Technology. "We believe that our manufacturing process is the largest mass customization operation in the world. We are leveraging our world-class mass customization capabilities including 3D printing as we expand manufacturing operations in China – Align's fastest growing region."

How SLA 3D Printing Enables Accurate Production
3D Systems partnered with Align to develop a customized solution that meets Align's long-term business strategy and goals using 3D Systems' ProX SLA 3D printing technology, materials, and software as part of its aligner fabrication workflow. The additive manufacturing solution is used to create sacrificial tooling, which leads to the creation of the final, patient-ready aligners.

Each component of the additive manufacturing solution has been optimized to meet Align's unique manufacturing requirements and process. The design flexibility enabled by additive manufacturing has helped Align include risk-mitigating processes that prevent potential confusion of millions of patient-specific devices. For example, each Invisalign patient's treatment plan includes multiple unique aligners. One of the benefits of 3D printing is the ability to print many different parts at once – with each print run potentially including aligners for multiple patients. To avoid confusion, each aligner has a unique patient ID which is added into the design of the aligner through the CAD file and printed directly into the device. This unique identifier does not divulge any patient information, yet allows manufacturing technicians to track and manage production and shipment of each patient's complete set of aligners.

"At IMTS 2018, 3D Systems is showcasing its solutions for large scale factory automation that are transforming manufacturing," said Vyomesh Joshi, president and chief executive officer, 3D Systems. "Align has embraced 3D Systems' 3D printing solutions from its inception to produce a first of its kind medical device. Today, the company produces more than 320,000 custom aligners per day, and will surpass that number as new operations, such as the latest facility in China, come on-line – a scale that can only be accomplished with the help of additive manufacturing."

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this release that are not statements of historical or current facts are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the company to be materially different from historical results or from any future results or projections expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In many cases, forward looking statements can be identified by terms such as "believes," "belief," "expects," "may," "will," "estimates," "intends," "anticipates" or "plans" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are based upon management's beliefs, assumptions and current expectations and may include comments as to the company's beliefs and expectations as to future events and trends affecting its business and are necessarily subject to uncertainties, many of which are outside the control of the company. The factors described under the headings "Forward-Looking Statements" and "Risk Factors" in the company's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as other factors, could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected or predicted in forward-looking statements. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, forward-looking statements are not, and should not be relied upon as a guarantee of future performance or results, nor will they necessarily prove to be accurate indications of the times at which such performance or results will be achieved. The forward-looking statements included are made only as the date of the statement. 3D Systems undertakes no obligation to update or review any forward-looking statements made by management or on its behalf, whether as a result of future developments, subsequent events or circumstances or otherwise.

About 3D Systems
3D Systems is the originator of 3D printing and an innovator of future 3D solutions. It has spent its 30-year history enabling professionals and companies to optimize their designs, transform their workflows, bring groundbreaking products to market and drive new business models. This is achieved with the Company's best of breed digital manufacturing ecosystem. It's comprised of plastic and metal 3D printers, print materials, on demand manufacturing services and end-to-end manufacturing software solutions. Combinations of these products and services address a variety of advanced applications- ranging from Aerospace, Automotive, and Consumer Goods to Medical, Dental, and Jewelry. For example, 3D Systems' precision healthcare capabilities include simulation, Virtual Surgical Planning, and printing of medical and dental devices as well as patient-specific surgical instruments. More information on the company is available at www.3dsystems.com.

About Align Technology, Inc.
Align Technology designs and manufactures the Invisalign® system, the most advanced clear aligner system in the world, and iTero® intraoral scanners and services. Align's products help dental professionals achieve the clinical results they expect and deliver effective, cutting-edge dental options to their patients. Visit www.aligntech.com for more information.

For additional information about the Invisalign system or to find an Invisalign doctor in your area, please visit www.invisalign.com. For additional information about iTero digital scanning system, please visit www.itero.com.

SOURCE: 3D Systems

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