Dürr Dental IDS highlights: sustainable and AI-supported
“AI shouldn’t be a ‘fancy feature’ you don’t need!”
Sustainability and AI – these two central trade fair topics were in focus at IDS by the German dental company Dürr Dental. But how can AI really be meaningfully integrated into products for a dental practice? And how does a company act that takes sustainability seriously? We discussed these questions with the CEO Martin Dürrstein.
What innovations did you show at IDS?
Martin Dürrstein: We presented a wide range of innovations. In the field of system hygiene we launched a new line of disinfectant wipes that are plastic-free. The challenge with disinfection wipes is that paper wipes cannot be stored in a wipe disinfection solution because they would decompose. This means that all disinfecting wipes on the market, both those of our competitors and our classic line, are made of 100% plastic, even if they don’t feel that way. Our new line is called “green”, which indicates that the wipe material is plastic-free and therefore more environmentally friendly. We are planning to expand this line.
How does the more environmentally friendly material composition in terms of price?
Martin Dürrstein: The green wipes are 5 times more efficient than conventional wipes due to a better impregnation behavior and a higher absorption capacity of liquids. This means that more surface area can be wetted. Although they now contain fewer wipes since the individual wipe has a higher material thickness. But if you go by the wetted area, the wipes are still less expensive, even if the individual wipe is somewhat more expensive in terms of price.
Surely you presented more than one new innovation? We know Dürr Dental as an innovative company.
Martin Dürrstein: We have revised our high-end suction line Tyscor and are now launching a new generation on the market. The special feature of the new Tyscor line is the 75% energy saving. That is phenomenal! By switching to radial technology, the speed of the units can now be adapted to the actual demand.
We say the unit breathes in speed. For the dental practice, this results in high energy savings. For example, if a practice has 5 treatment units, it will need in a conventional installation, it needs an extraction system that constantly serves 5 rooms, regardless of whether treatment is being performed in all rooms. The new Tyscor suction system, on the other hand, operates with feedback, which indicates how much pressure is currently required. The speed is adjusted according as needed.
A second innovation that distinguishes the Tyscor line is its network capability. It is fully IoT-capable. This makes it possible for technicians to solve problems remotely if there is a malfunction, in the device. For example, by performing a reset remotely. With the cloud-based IoT solution, we immediately notice when devices have a problem.
The dentist can, of course, opt out of having their device monitored by us. He has the choice.
The third advantage: the Tyscor devices can grow with the user. Until now a new suction system had to be purchased when expanding the practice and a higher vacuum volume was required. When a dental practice opts for the Tyscor line from Dürr Dental, they can purchase the same unit in the event of an expansion. The two units connect and cooperate, when demand is high, both work in parallel, when the demand is low, only one unit operates, so the side effect is redundancy – if one device should fail, the supply is ensured by the other device.
You said that the new Tyscor suction system consumes much less energy than previous models. In terms of sustainability, you are primarily focusing on energy consumption?
Martin Dürrstein: When we talk about green practice and about environmental responsibility, it is not about the process of creating a product, but in its use. We are talking about 95% to 5%. This is not only the case with our products, but, for example with a car. Around 90% of a product’s energy consumption is in its use and only a single-digit percentage of the footprint is in its production. If we succeed in making the product more environmentally friendly in its life cycle after manufacture, the effect is completely different – that’s the big lever – than if you only start in production.
Do you work with external partners on your sustainability efforts?
Martin Dürrstein: Yes, we also work with consultants: an energy consultant who deals with the classic area of production: How much energy do we consume in total – how much electricity, how much heating energy? This service provider calculates the figures for our company, which is where our data on energy consumption in production and use in the life cycle of a product, which I have just mentioned, comes from.
The second area in which we seek advice is the sustainability of our company buildings. We have 3 manufacturing sites in Germany. The production site for digital imaging is already CO2 neutral, not through the purchase of certificates, but – I would call it honestly CO2 neutral – through building refurbishment and the replacement of fossil fuels. For example, the roofs are completely covered with photovoltaics.
Sustainability in our field means, that products must be durable and repairable. This has always been true for Dürr Dental products. This means that we have entered the sustainability discussion at a very high level, and it is precisely these qualities that distinguish us. The products must live for a long time, they must support the dentist completely stress-free, which is guaranteed, by our on-site service.
What is the service life of Dürr Dental equipment?
Martin Dürrstein: We develop devices for a service life of 10,000 hours, which means that under normal circumstances they have a life expectancy of well over 10 years. However, depending on how much a device is used, there are large differences in the survival time.
You said that your devices are also characterized by repairability. ability. But can they still be repaired after more than 10 years?
Martin Dürrstein: Absolutely! Sometimes we get requests for equipment that has been in use in the dental practice for 20 years. Spare parts, such as compressor units for the compressor, can always be purchased and equipment is repaired on-site in the dental practice. However, after 20 years, we would recommend that the dentist consider purchasing a new unit.
In addition to sustainability, AI was the big topic at this trade show. You already presented AI-supported products in the past. Have you intensified AI development?
Martin Dürrstein: We have consistently used AI in our products. Our focus is clearly on the everyday work of the dentist. We say that AI should support the dentist. AI should not be a “fancy feature”, that you don’t need. We look at which procedures there are, and what occurs very regularly in the routine of dental practices because that’s where you can make sense. The AI in our readers detects, for example, whether the imaging plate has been inadvertently inserted the wrong way around and corrects this. Then there is the subject of the nerve canal -which is identified by the X-ray software by Dürr Dental, even if the exposure is suboptimal. AI features are also integrated into the new VistaScan Mini View 2.0, the successor to the Mini. By the way, we are the only company that offers a spectrum in this area: Our flagship is the VistaScan Ultra View with 2 slots. All VistaScan devices have AI features: wear detection warns when the imaging plate is defective, scratched, or cracked. The dentist is alerted so that he does not wrongly assume that the tooth is defective. The Smart Reader facilitates the assignment of the X-ray image to the patient file. These readers are intended for the various treatment rooms and by reading in the film, it is directly assigned to the patient, so that there is no longer any risk of confusion.
Do you work with dental practices that evaluate your developments?
Martin Dürrstein: We don’t just go into the closet and shut the door (laughs). We are in constant dialog with practices. Because it makes no sense to develop something for a target audience that is not involved in the development.
You put a lot of energy into the further development of your imaging software VistaSoft, Is it an open system?
Martin Dürrstein: Yes. We are in dialog with all suppliers and offer an ideal connection to the systems of 3Shape, Dentsply Sirona, Sicat and Exocad. I believe that when someone chooses Dürr Dental, they choose the provider that gives them the greatest freedom to buy the intraoral scanner they really want for their practice. He can also integrate AI functions from third-party suppliers. And we believe we can claim to offer good interfaces in our software solution. An interface must be such that it simply flows.
Mr. Dürrstein, you already had several exhibitions this year (e.g. AEEDC, IDS). Are you satisfied with them in general?
Martin Dürrstein: We are super satisfied! We had enough traffic at our booth. I would say that they were a great success for us.