A working environment that attract dental technicians all over Japan.
Dental Craft has established their dental lab in the natural riches of the beautiful highlands of the northern Japanese Alps Mountains.
We have asked representative Mr. Katsuno the backgrounds of going independent and future prospects. (Photo left to the right: Mr. Katuno, Mr. Furusawa)
Please tell us about the background of establishing the lab.
“I was working for a dental clinic after graduating from a dental technical college. My family owned a retail business, but I had to come back to support them once they became ill. After going independent in 1998, I was helping out with my family business while doing my dental work alone in a prefabricated workshop. It was tough times.”
When did you first learn about the CAD/CAM?
“I first came to know about the digital dental world 10 years ago in 2005. Fortunately I was able to hire more dental technicians along with the business growing, however as the dental technical work is a labor intensive business, heavy workload inevitably hit the dental technicians. It is also difficult for them to ease up as many of the dental technicians hold pride in the quality and craftsmanship of their work. This is why many dental technicians end up spend long hours in the lab. We installed machines for milling wax hoping that this would cut back the long working hours. However it did not work out back then. We ended up giving up in a few months, due to slow computers and poor designing functions. It was faster to do it by hand after all.”
So you re-discovered the CAD/CAM.
“We were aware of some realistic or usable systems, and the open systems gave us more freedom of choice. I had the chance to meet Mr. Furusawa for CAD LAB Japan, who taught me good advice.”
“In 2013, when we were making up our mind to buy the DWX-50, suddenly the DWX-4 was released. After we went down to Tokyo and had a look, we were confident that this would be the perfect choice for us. We decided to be practical and outsource large or complicated work, and install three machines in order to maintain the production even during sudden machine trouble. In those days, there was still little material that was compatible with the machine. We trusted Roland that they were worth it.”
How do you operate the system?
“Mr. Furusawa is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the CAD/CAM system. Currently there are three scanners, two sets of CAD systems, three DWX-4s and one other milling machine are connected to the network, all of which are usable. This enables us to flexibly correspond with the volume of production, and maintain production even if a part of the system falls. We don’t want to keep our customers waiting. By the way, two technicians are operating the devices both of which had never touched a computer, and didn’t even know how to use a mouse until 6 months ago. Now they have no problem in operating the system.”
What has changed after installing the system?
“I think we were lucky timing wise. At first we intended the machines to mill only wax, so that it would give the technicians more time to focus on the finishing process to add value to the deliverables. We were already satisfied with this, however situations changed when the demand for zirconia and composite resin crowns boomed. As the entire volume of business increased, there were many positive facts we did not expect initially.”
Finally, please tell us about future prospects.
“The numbers of dental technicians are decreasing due to aging of the society. There are not many young people who want to become dental technicians. The working environment will slide if you continue to do things in the traditional way. Knowing the hard times when I was young, I want to invest as much as possible in the CAD/CAM and digital devices in order to save labor. I also want to promote my local society making it an attractive place to work for young dental technicians.”
(Interviewed February, 2015)
Dental Craft Website: http://www.dentalcraft.co.jp/