Impress, a Spanish start-up founded in 2019 is the first company to offer fully digital next-generation invisible orthodontic treatments. Impress has succeeded in revolutionising the market and has secured its position as an industry leader in several European countries.
Through strategic vertical integration, it has been able to open more than 100 clinics across Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany and Ukraine in less than three years.
Impress offers its clients a comprehensive invisible orthodontic treatment service consisting of a range of processes, including: 3D dental scan, smile design, simulation video of treatment outcome, manufacture of the dental aligner and online follow-up.
In line with the company’s vision, Impress’ strategic objectives have included making the service provided to clients a completely digital process and automating the dental aligner production process. Firstly, offering a digitalised service offers the client huge advantages in terms of convenience and functionality, compared to the tedious and time-consuming processes of current orthodontic services. Secondly, automating processes allows for costs to be optimised and the service to be streamlined.
1. The Challenge
One of the main challenges in automating the production process is finding optimal global technical solutions offered by the best suppliers for each system: 3D scanning and file processing, 3D printing, artificial vision, thermoforming, laser marking and final cutting in order to achieve higher quality aligners.
One of the biggest challenges in this respect is integrating all the different systems into one solution.
“Thanks to the automation of production processes with Hamer lines, we have reduced turnaround times and our patients will be able to start treatment within 5–7 days following their first visit.”
2. The Solution
At Hamer, we have developed a thermoforming, vision and laser marking solution that can be easily integrated with all other processes and systems.
When developing the solution for Impress, we collaborated with various suppliers of 3D printers, software, artificial vision systems, laser marking units and final trimming machinery for aligners.
By collaborating with various companies, we were able to design an ideal anchoring system that optimises each different process, with perfect fixation in the 3D printing and during the thermoforming process. The system also ensures that centring of the model is both reliable and optimum during the entire procedure, and during both the laser marking and final trimming processes.
On the other hand, we have integrated AIS Vision artificial vision systems that enable us to read an alphanumeric code on the 3D mould and send this information to the Impress MES system. From there, we can access the specific case file needed and obtain the X, Y and Z coordinates of where the aligner should be marked.
Thanks to the collaboration between Tykma Electrox and Hamer, the ultraviolet laser marker uses this information to mark a QR code on the central part of the model, plus two additional marks on each of the aligner’s arches, thus allowing them to be identified in all subsequent processes.
Lastly, Hamer has designed an output conveyor belt which ensures the correct positioning of the aligner, so that it can be picked up by the robot and then placed in the trimming machine.
The final result has been a complete success; Impress has succeeded in automating its entire production process, reducing material and labour costs all while improving manufacturing times.
3. Main Milestones
- Ranked as one of the 20 fastest-growing start-ups in Europe in 2020 by Sifted
- Jury Prize and People’s Choice Award at the Frame Awards 2020 in the Healthcare Centre of the Year category
- Largest series A funding round in the history of Spain and Southern Europe
- Named as one of the Start-ups of 2021 by LinkedIn
- Named as one of the Start-ups of 2021 at the Expansión awards
- Named innovation of the year at the Barcelona Dental Show 2021
- Winner of the Loop Design Awards 2021
- New UK investor in 2021 by the British Embassy in Madrid