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Inside Dental Technology
July 2022
Volume 13, Issue 7

Amann Girrbach Doubles Down on US Laboratories

Connectivity with clinicians, automation technology, and expanded support among priorities

From the founding of Girrbach Dental in 1936 and Amann Dental in 1972 to the start of the companies' cooperation in 1978 and their eventual merger in 2004, Amann Girrbach has been a partner to the dental laboratory. As the laboratory's role continues to evolve in modern dentistry, however, Amann Girrbach has evolved as well-including now working with dentists to facilitate an optimal ecosystem between all parts of the restorative team via the new Ceramill DRS (Direct Restorative Solution). "The dental laboratory was in the past, is today, and will remain in the future a crucial partner for the dentist," says Jan Slor, Managing Director of Amann Girrbach North America. "The dental technician will continue to manufacture dental prostheses with the help of new technologies, but the dental laboratory will develop into much more and become a technology gateway for the dentist that provides access to knowledge and technology sources. Together the dentist and laboratory will build out of that a continuous digital workflow with the help of manufacturers. Amann Girrbach was, is, and will aways remain a partner for the dental laboratory to provide that knowledge and technology."

Ceramill DRS includes the new Ceramill Map DRS intraoral scanner, AG.Live portal, Ceramill Mind DRS software, Ceramill Motion DRS milling machine, and Ceramill Therm DRS. The AG.Live portal connects the dentist directly to the laboratory, where Amann Girrbach's new Ceramill Motion 3 and Ceramill Matik provide the world's most intelligent high-production milling. "The dentist can scan the preparation, and the laboratory can immediately receive the scan through AG.Live, design the crown or bridge, and deliver that design back to the dentist," Slor says. "For crowns or up to three-unit bridges, the dentist then can decide whether to mill a zirconia or glass-ceramic restoration in-house with the Ceramill Motion DRS and sinter in 20 minutes with the Ceramill Therm DRS, or have the laboratory manufacture the restoration with a Ceramill laboratory mill. This solution enables a continuous validated digital workflow from beginning to end with limitless combinations possible. Both the dentist and laboratory decide what and where to produce restoratively to ensure timely and high-quality delivery to the patient."

The Ceramill Motion 3 and Ceramill Matik provide Amann Girrbach's well-established high quality for milling nearly every type of dental material, but the new machines are perhaps best known for their automation features, which allow laboratory technicians to spend more time on the tasks that require their unique skills and knowledge. "The brain technology of our latest machines is exciting because increasing amounts of intelligence have been incorporated into the machines to make them really automated," Slor says. "The technician can save time via these machines' automated maintenance scheduling, RFID technology to prevent user errors, tool-life tracking, and more." The machines are connected to Amann Girrbach's online store, which Slor compares to linking kitchen appliances to a service that will automatically deliver groceries to your doorstep.

The AG.Live portal is the technology that excites Slor the most. Via this platform, a laboratory becomes connected with dentists and other laboratories for HIPAA-compliant digital case management, software updates, materials management, worldwide access to support and knowledge databases, and more. "The next leap is beneficial connectivity between all those machines and the stakeholders, and that is where this unique digital platform helps dental technicians manage all the digital activities locally while being connected globally with an ever-expanding network of digital dental professionals. This connectivity with further software development really gets me excited about what is to come. I envision all US dental professionals being connected digitally to provide quicker, better, more affordable dental prostheses to the patient."

While Amann Girrbach provides those leading hardware and software solutions for this workflow, Slor says that as technology continues to mature, support will take on increasing significance. "I believe that education and service will become more important than the technology itself," Slor says. In that vein, Amann Girrbach North America has added nearly 50% more employees since last year—including doubling the size of its online technical help desk team—and plans to have doubled its entire workforce by the end of 2023, by which point they also will have moved into a new, state-of-the-art building in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will include a 2,000-square-foot education center. The company also has created nine "strategic clusters" around the country, each featuring a key account manager, a product specialist, and a field repair specialist. "We are working hard to improve our service by hiring more field repair technicians, improving the availability of parts, and more," Slor says. "Regarding education, I believe we have some of the best CAD/CAM educators in the US dental industry, and we will continue to prioritize high standards for product and process knowledge."

That is not to diminish the technology, of course. The Ceramill DRS system provides the opportunity for dentists and laboratories to mix and match restorative workflows according to what is best for each case. "It is part of the Amann Girrbach ecosystem between the dentist and the dental laboratory," Slor says. "While dental laboratories with Amann Girrbach's system can provide every prosthetic solution to the dentist, the ‘crown in an hour' is a growing market demand. Amann Girrbach has developed that ecosystem through which the dentist and laboratory are connected." The system was developed at Amann Girrbach's global headquarters in Koblach, Austria, where the company is building another new state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facility. "With core competencies in R&D, manufacturing, sales, and marketing all under one roof, Amann Girrbach is quite unique in the industry," Slor says. "We manufacture everything from scanners to mills to materials, so our customers have a very reliable production system."

While Amann Girrbach sells worldwide to customers in more than 100 countries, the North American market—accountable for almost 37% of the total market, Slor says—is a larger focus than ever right now. "Amann Girrbach is a well-known brand in the US laboratory industry, but our market share in the US is relatively small, so it is an important strategic objective to grow our share significantly in the next 3 to 5 years. This opportunity is changing rapidly due to consolidation, digitization, and other developments in the US market. Amann Girrbach has developed a product portfolio to meet the demands of that changing market, as well as a modified organizational structure to serve the customer better with service, sales, and support."

With its expanded support team and the Ceramill DRS system, Amann Girrbach expects to further its overall mission. "Amann Girrbach wants to make people smile with what we do—not only customers or patients, but everybody we interact with on a daily basis," Slor says. "We are committed to openness and a fair, respectful cooperation. We want to be transparent at all levels along the entire value creation chain. We are a community within the dental community, so we want to be respected, proactive, and certainly reliable. Those values are the essence of the company, and they enable us to continuously develop high-quality service and products to improve the wellbeing of all our customers."


Jan Slor
Managing Director

Slor took over this position in March 2021 after previously serving as General Manager of Global Dental Science LLC and Dentsply Prosthetics. In total, he has more than 35 years of experience in the industry. “I got married in 1984 and I started in the dental industry in 1986,” Slor says. “I am still married to the same woman, and I am still working in the same industry, so I feel like I have been married to the dental laboratory industry as well.”

Company History

Girrbach Dental was founded in 1936 in Germany, and Amann Dental was founded in 1972 in Austria. In 1978, the companies began their cooperation with the development of the first articulator. Giroform model fabrication was launched in 2003, and the companies officially merged as Amann Girrbach AG in 2004. The Artex Carbon series of articulators was launched in 2005. AG America opened in Tampa, Florida, in 2007, the same year that in-house zirconia production began at the world headquarters in Koblach, Austria. The Ceramill CAD/CAM system was launched in 2009, followed by the 2012 relocation of AG America to Charlotte, North Carolina. Ground is being broken this month on a larger, state-of-the-art facility in Charlotte, with the expectation to open the building in March 2023.

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