Five-Axis Machining Center for Dental Applications, Operated by Apple iPad


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Datron Dynamics Inc. says the company’s D5 Dental Mill is a 5-axis, high-speed machining center designed for dental milling applications including crowns, bridges, abutments, inlays, onlays, telescopes, implants, bar work and even models.  A rigid cast iron construction houses a fully-integrated 5-axis automation system built to hold up to eight material blanks or “pucks” frequently used by dental labs.  This integrated eight-piece handling system loads and unloads blanks for unattended operation. Finished blanks can be unloaded from the machine while the machine is running. The company says the D5 is optimized for the efficient machining of dental materials such as NEM, titanium, chrome-cobalt, zirconium, PMMA, wax, ceramics and dental gypsum. Because of the need to use the machine in dental laboratories, the D5 can fit through a standard 36” x 80” commercial door. 

Datron believes the D5 is the first machining center in the world to employ a user-friendly touch-screen Apple iPad to control all machine functions.   The control software is an open architecture system capable of interfacing with all standard scanning systems and CAD/CAM packages.  The touch operator interface enables very simple programming of the Datron Dental software. Since the Apple iPad is removable and can be taken off of the machining center, machine operations and job status can be monitored remotely even from a distance.  For example, through a “Live View” feature, the iPad screen shows the machining area. A camera mounted inside the machine transmits the image to the iPad screen.  This feature allows the operator to check the production status of the machine from another location, such as an office or perhaps a ceramic station.

Within the D5 machining software, the milling data generated by the CAM module is constantly synchronized with the job manager and activated when necessary. Simple touch functions can link jobs together according to priority and deadline, or they can be run independently if preferred. Integrated blank management stores a library of data about the type and strength of the various materials comprising each individual blank (puck) housed within the automation unit.  A plausibility examination is completed before any milling procedure begins. Tool data defining each tool type allows for the simple selection of tools by the CAM module. Based on the function and machining time for which the tool will be employed, a pre-defined tool exchange (replacement) is scheduled—thereby ensuring ongoing quality control even during unattended operations. An integrated 13-station tool changer features tool-length and tool-break sensors.