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Inside Dental Technology
May 2023
Volume 14, Issue 5

No Compressed Air Needed

Newest innovation from vhf eliminates a burdensome necessity

Nicolas Rohde, PhD, and his team at vhf knew that the AIRTOOL in their new E5 milling machine would be helpful for laboratories, eliminating the burdensome need for compressed air during milling. The initial reception, however, from the market during Chicago Midwinter and the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany, has surpassed their expectations. "We knew it was a cool feature," says Rohde, vhf's Chief Strategy Officer, "but we were surprised and overwhelmed at how much interest it generated."

The patent-pending AIRTOOL eliminates the need for compressed air via either an external connection or a built-in compressor by utilizing the high speeds of high-frequency spindles. The turbine blades on the AIRTOOL generate a strong air flow toward the cutting edge of the tool, which keeps the workpiece free of chips and dust. In turn, chips and dust are removed by the connected suction unit.

While the idea that the need for compressed air could be avoided might never have even occurred to many people, the challenges it brings were clear.  "The EASE CLASS has a great price-performance ratio, but we aimed to also reduce the operating cost," Rohde says. "Compressed air is expensive, and good compressors cost a lot as well; cheap compressors can damage the machine. One Friday afternoon in the summer, at almost 100°, the idea of the AIRTOOL was born." Some have asked how no one else ever had this idea, as it is relatively simple. "This is how innovations sometimes are," Rohde says. "It does not always need to be rocket science; you just need to be the first to bring it to market."

Of course, vhf's history of innovation traces back to the early days of milling when the company introduced desktop machines. "We try to think from the customer's perspective and determine what benefits them the most," Rohde says. "We developed tabletop milling machines because we knew they would be an advantage for users with limited space. We continued to innovate with the ability to mill metals in all of our machines and with freedom of choice of materials. We always want to be at the forefront, which leads to innovations like the AIRTOOL, where we see a potential advantage for the user, and we implement it."

The E5 is part of vhf's EASE CLASS, which is designed to complement the company's premium and performance lines with a value line featuring maximal ease of use. "We wanted to make things easier not only for the end user but for everyone involved, from the reseller to sales representatives to support staff," Rohde says. "The AIRTOOL is an important feature, and the serviceability is another major advantage; most repairs can be completed by the end user with only remote support. Training also can be accomplished remotely or only with the help of our many instructional videos, because the mills are so easy to use."

With so many advantages, perhaps it should have come as no surprise that the EASE CLASS and the AIRTOOL would prove to be so popular. "The interest that we saw in Chicago and at IDS fuels our excitement," Rohde says, "and makes us proud that we developed a product that meets such an important need."

vhf EASE Class

The E5 is a dry milling machine for discs that masters even complex indications with the highest precision thanks to its five axes. Despite its versatility, the E5 can be operated with EASE: It does not require any compressed air and is therefore very cost-effective and particularly sustainable. Equally innovative is the low machine weight of the E5. Both aspects reduce the requirements for the installation site, which is particularly helpful in small laboratories. Also, in terms of serviceability and handling, the E5 stands out with EASE.

This highly innovative machine for wet and dry machining of blocks will boost digitization and enable easy and economical same-day dentistry.

This very compact milling machine has been specially developed for cutting out the most diverse shapes of thermoformed splints, such as aligners, bite splints, grinding splints, and other variants up to sports mouthguards.


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