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Dental laboratory stays ahead of the game

A GLASGOW-based dental laboratory has staked a claim for an early advantage in digital product design.

ADVANTAGE: Paul McDermott (left) of Park Circus Ceramics with Robert White, relationship manager with RBS. Picture: Chris James
ADVANTAGE: Paul McDermott (left) of Park Circus Ceramics with Robert White, relationship manager with RBS. Picture: Chris James

Park Circus Ceramics secured £40,000 in asset-based finance from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to help pay for a device that allows dental products to be designed digitally, with the information then sent to milling machines for production.

Until now the business had designed its products by hand.

The funding, which is combined with a bank overdraft, has also helped ease the cash flow of the business while the investment was made.

Paul McDermott, who established the company 10 years ago, said the £80,000 spent on the kit has transformed the capability of his company, insisting it is already paying its way.

Mr McDermott said: "I think technology really is going to take over. Within the next decade the majority of work will be done like this, so we're trying to get an early foothold in it and establish ourselves as having a good background and knowledge in it.

"This is why we are taking this first step."

When combined with a 3D scanner, which was acquired separately by the business, the kit is said to give products a more precise finish. Materials such as zirconia, which cannot be processed by hand, can be used by the machine, providing technicians with an alternative to metal for products such as crowns.

The machine is also said to have boosted productivity because of its increased speed, with Mr McDermott comparing its impact to having an extra two technicians on board. The firm employs six dental technicians.

Mr McDermott said the bulk of the firm's clients are already receiving products designed by the CAD/CAM Full In-House Milling System, which was manufactured in Germany. However he said he has yet to fully market its capabilities to his customers.

Mr McDermott noted: "We're still getting our parameters right on everything and just making sure we're 100% with every product. There are products we are already putting out there in quite big numbers like zirconia crowns.

"It is productive at the moment and is earning its way already."

Mr McDermott insisted the cost of investing in the technology not had any impact on the prices his clients pay for his products, which include veneers, bridges, implants and complex full arch reconstructions.

Robert White, relationship manager for RBS in Glasgow, said: "Paul has a wealth of experience in this industry and is working hard to stay a strong competitor in the market.

"I'm pleased to have been able to support him through this latest phase of growth."

Park Circus Ceramics' clients are largely in the private sector, but also include NHS customers. It is increasingly working on cosmetic implants and full arch reconstructions for patients who have suffered trauma or illness, or who are requesting implants as an alternative to dentures.

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