HYTEC's FlashCT computed tomography scanners to improve Invisalign's orthodontics procedures

Santa Clara 04 September 2002Align Technology Inc., makers of Invisalign, a proprietary method of straightening teeth without wires or brackets, have added HYTEC Inc.'s FlashCT to their manufacturing process. FlashCT is an advanced industrial computed tomography (CT) system for high-speed 3D imaging. Implementing this new equipment will enhance the quality of Invisalign, while eliminating a time-intensive step in the manufacturing process and reducing overall manufacturing costs.

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FlashCT scans teeth impressions directly, eliminating the need to form plaster molds as an initial step in creating digital models of the teeth. By scanning impressions directly, a more accurate reproduction of the patient's anatomy and bite occlusion is generated, yielding more effective tooth movements and treatment outcomes. This non-invasive process leaves the original impressions untouched, which provides pristine models for future reference.

"Implementing FlashCT marks another important step in streamlining our manufacturing process in order to improve operating margins. Our investment in Flash CT exemplifies our commitment to using state-of-the-art technology to eliminate costly steps in that process", stated Len Hedge, Vice President, Operations for Align Technology.

FlashCT is used to create a 3D full volume model of the patient's teeth directly from their impressions. Those digital models are then manipulated as part of virtual treatment planning for the patient. Once the treatment plan is approved by the treating doctor, clear, plastic, removable Aligners are created. Each Aligner is worn by the patient for about two weeks, and is designed to move teeth in small increments until the final desired position is achieved.

"With FlashCT, HYTEC is continuing its tradition of innovation by introducing a fully integrated solution for reverse engineering. By reducing cycle times to a matter of minutes instead of hours, this tool is making mass customisation economically feasible", stated Tim Thompson, President of HYTEC Inc.

HYTEC specialises in the design of scientific instruments, and the development of non-destructive sensors and imaging products. From design and development to implementation and support, HYTEC's wholly owned subsidiary HYTEC Engineering Inc. provides advanced technologies, engineering, and innovative product designs to a variety of scientific, government, and commercial customers.

HYTEC's wholly owned subsidiary HYTEC Sensors and Imaging Group Inc. (HYSIG) provides a full product line of FlashCT industrial computed tomography systems used in non-destructive inspection, electro-mechanical forensics and reverse engineering. HYSIG's line of PRISM real time holographic imaging systems is used for deformation and vibration analysis and the measurement and analysis of residual stress. An expert in the field of data visualisation and imaging solutions, HYSIG has a proven record of outstanding performance.

Align Technology designs, manufactures, and markets Invisalign, a proprietary method for treating malocclusion, or the misalignment of teeth. Invisalign corrects malocclusion using a series of clear, comfortable, and removable appliances that gently move teeth to a desired final position. Because it does not rely on the use of metal or ceramic brackets and wires, Invisalign significantly reduces aesthetic and other limitations associated with braces. Invisalign is appropriate for treating adults and older teens. Align Technology was founded in March 1997 and received FDA clearance to market Invisalign in 1998.

More Invisalign news is available in the VMW March 2001 article Raindrop Geomagic's 3D models make Invisalign orthodontic system fit for mass customisation.


Leslie Versweyveld

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