Vol. 23
March Issue
Year 2022


in Vol. 23 - March Issue - Year 2022
A State-Of-The-Art Fully Automated Machine Line For The Surface Treatment Of Dental Implants

Figure 1: DentalBlast by FerroEcoBlast® Europe – a line of machines for the surface treatment of dental implants

Figure 2: Automatic treatment of dental implants with DentalBlast 420 by FerroECOBlast®, a machine with capacity to process 120 implants an hour

Figure 3: One of the trays with dental implants awaiting surface treatment in the DentalBlast 900 by FerroECOBlast®

Figure 4: Testing of one of the machines from the DentalBlast 900 by FerroECOBlast® line, with a processing capacity of 240 implants an hour

Figure 5: FerroSmartPanel, user-friendly interface, which is the result of in-house development at FerroČrtalič d.o.o.

The DentalBlast by FerroEcoBlast® Europe machine line is designed for the surface treatment of dental implants and as such represents the most advanced line of automated solutions provided by the Dolenjske Toplice-based company FerroČrtalič d.o.o., whose nearly 60 years of tradition, ongoing development and excellence of service make it an indispensable surface treatment partner serving the most demanding industries. With its fully automated surface treatment process, the DentalBlast by FerroECOBlast® line ensures a uniformly surface-treated dental implant, delivering perfect and steady quality of implants for optimal bone integration and in turn, providing the end user with an improved quality of life.

Continual advances in dental medicine have encouraged demands for premium-quality dental implants, with the aim of increasing implant service life. The main goal is to improve the quality of life for end-users and to help them save money, and this has led to implant production numbers reaching several millions worldwide. To ensure the best possible fixation and integration of the dental implant into the bone, it is important to create a suitable surface that will ensure optimal osseointegration. This represents a direct structural and functional connection between living bone tissue and the surface of the man-made implant, between which there is no connective tissue. Titanium, ceramic and polymer materials are capable of sustaining such connections, but the key to successful integration is not just a suitable material but proper surface treatment of dental implants as well, one that delivers uniform roughness and a very precisely treated surface that is free of impurities.  

The present technology in the global market offers mostly manual or semi-automatic surface treatment systems, with limited quality control over blasting and the surface preparation process. Striving to develop leading-edge surface preparation technologies, FerroČrtalič d.o.o., a company based in Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia, has therefore placed a special focus on quality and control of the roughing process and for this purpose developed a fully automatic system for the blasting of dental implants, which consists of two parts. The first part is a blasting booth, in which the implant manipulation and blasting process is performed, and the second part is an abrasive medium recycling system, which ensures a constant and consistent quality of the blasting medium. Implant blasting is followed by a cleaning cycle, during which the implant is cleaned using clean pressure air. It is this combination that ensures high productivity, process repeatability, and perfect quality of all treated implants. 

Each dental implant also goes through the surface roughing process in order to ensure better integration of the implant into the bone, but the crucial part in this process is blasting, which – based on research data available to date – delivers the most suitable surface for integration into the bone. Implants can be blasted with various media such as alumina, zirconia, calcium phosphate or titanium oxide. Due to the potential risk of explosion posed by fine abrasive powder and titanium materials, the DentalBlast by FerroECOBlast® line has been engineered in compliance with the ATEX Directive to ensure a high level of explosion safety of equipment (ATEX). 

All manipulation processes in the DentalBlast 900 dental implant roughening and cleaning machine are fully automated and controlled. The operator places a tray with implants in the dedicated spot on the left side of the machine. When operating in automatic mode, the manipulator carefully select each implant and places it in the position for blasting. After the blasting and cleaning is completed, a final control is performed with the vision camera, which records whether the implant is properly treated or not before the manipulator returns it back to the tray. In this way, all prearranged implants are roughened, cleaned, and controlled. This process can run continuously for several hours without the presence of an operator. 

Thanks to their unique design, the two main constituent parts of the machines from the DentalBlast by FerroECOBlast® line ensure high quality and repeatability of the surface treatment process and have the capacity of cleaning up to 900 dental implants in a single cycle. Perhaps even more important is the system's recycling part, whose built-in components such as cyclone separator and vibrating sieve accurately separate suitable abrasive medium from the unsuitable in order to ensure that implants are treated with abrasive particles of identical size throughout the whole blasting process. 

To control the abrasive stream from the nozzle, FerroČrtalič has developed its own unique blasting guns with an integrated vacuum gauge system, which is connected to the PLC. This control system automatically stops the machine if any of the monitored parameters happen to fall outside the tolerance range during machine operation. 

Due to the growing demand for monitoring the operation process via a remote device or IoT-based control, FerroČrtalič d.o.o. has developed a dedicated application that provides in-line control and full overview of the operation of their machines. This allows users to monitor machine operation and to receive operational notifications and traceability reports, thus reducing process downtimes and allowing the process to run continuously without physical supervision and human presence.

Today's high-performance machines in technology-intensive industries can no longer be imagined without full, real-time and easy operation and control. The entire functionality of the DentalBlast and OrthoBlast machines is controlled via the user-friendly FerroSmartPanel interface, which is the result of in-house development at FerroČrtalič d.o.o. It allows the operator to easily set up the manipulator and adjust the pressure and blasting time, satellite rotation speed, and cleaning time. In addition to the main menu, formula editor menu and service menu, FerroSmartPanel also comes with pop-up windows for troubleshooting in the event of an alarm or warning, which allows the operator to easily remotely check the machine and resume production in a short time, facilitating the workflow while saving time and money. 

The demanding medical industry branch where the final product is implemented into the human body calls for ever-increasing quality of products, maximum cleanliness and the longest possible service life. 
The development of the DentalBlast line is the outcome of nearly 60 years of continual upgrades of know-how in the surface treatment technology and cooperation with international research centers, dental and orthopedic clinics and dental implant manufacturers, which have contributed to the development of the machine line in terms of the needs of both the medical science and patients.
FerroČrtalič launched the DentalBlast line in 2018, and since then, with the help of development partners, they have also developed a fully automated OrthoBlast by FerroEcoBlast® Europe machine line for the surface treatment of orthopedic implants such as knee and hip replacements, titanium splints and other "spare parts". 
The line of state-of-the-art orthopedic implant machines is currently in the final testing and certification stages and is set to be launched globally in mid-2022. 

For Information: 
FerroČrtalič d.o.o.
Sela pri Dolenjskih Toplicah 47 
SI-8350 Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia 
Tel. +386.7.38 45 100
E-mail: sales@ferrocrtalic.com