3­D print could be ul­ti­mate selfie

Otago Daily Times - - BUSINESS & MONEY - TIM MILLER [email protected]

AN Otago and South­land­based com­pany which has made a suc­cess­ful busi­ness out of fo­cus­ing on peo­ple’s mouths is tak­ing a leap into the 3­D print­ing mar­ket.

For more than 20 years The Lab has been pro­duc­ing cus­tom­made den­tures, mouth guards and snor­ing ap­pli­ances but now it sees an op­por­tu­nity in the emerg­ing com­mer­cial and con­sumer 3­D print­ing mar­ket.

In­ter­na­tional sales man­ager Jee­van Verma said the com­pany was in­vest­ing about $400,000 into the tech­nol­ogy and had part­nered with Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion to es­tab­lish a 3­D print­ing hub in Dunedin.

Us­ing the lat­est body scan­ning and 3­D colour print­ing tech­nol­ogy, the com­pany will be able to cre­ate cus­tom­made replica fig­urines to or­der, Mr Verma said.

Peo­ple would be able to have al­most any­thing printed in 3­D, in­clud­ing fam­ily por­traits, pets, wed­ding cakes, and new­born ba­bies, he said.

The scan­ning process uses hun­dreds of in­di­vid­ual cam­eras and takes a mat­ter of sec­onds.

It will be the first time such a ser­vice had been of­fered in the South Is­land.

The tech­nol­ogy also has com­mer­cial and en­gi­neer­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, which the com­pany was also ex­plor­ing, Mr Verma said.

It was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for the com­pany, which al­ready used 3­D print­ing as part of its ev­ery­day op­er­a­tions, he said.

As well as in­vest­ing in com­mer­cial 3­D print­ing tech­nol­ogy the com­pany is turn­ing its fo­cus to dig­i­tal man­u­fac­tur­ing of den­tures.

The Lab had al­ways tried to pro­vide its cus­tomers with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and the com­pany had in­vested about $350,000 into a new den­ture milling ma­chine and 3­D scan­ner, Mr Verma said.

The new ma­chines would mean faster treat­ment for pa­tients, bet­ter fit­ting and higher qual­ity den­tures and was less in­va­sive than tra­di­tional meth­ods, he said.

‘‘This is just an­other step in the evo­lu­tion of the com­pany which will re­ally pro­vide our cus­tomers with an in­no­va­tive but af­ford­able ser­vice.’’

PHOTO: CHRIS­TINE O’CON­NOR

Mini me . . . The Lab’s new ven­ture into 3­D print­ing will give peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to own a minia­ture ver­sion of them­selves, much like the one com­pany direc­tor John Preddy has of him­self.

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