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CAM-Nesting: Efficiency and Savings in Dental Technology

| Knowledge

This article explains nesting in dental CAD/CAM applications. In addition to a brief definition, the key elements and cost savings of efficient CAM nesting are discussed.

1 CAM-nesting: perfect use of the blank surface to save space

In the complex world of manufacturing, efficiency and precision are of crucial importance. CAM nesting is an innovative solution that combines both aspects. But what is behind this term, how is it changing the manufacturing landscape and, above all, what are the advantages of CAM nesting? 

1.1 What is CAM nesting?

CAM nesting, an abbreviation for computer-aided design nesting, plays an important role in dental technology by positioning digital models of dental prostheses (crowns, bridges or inlays) on a production plate in such a way that material waste is reduced. This means that the parts are placed close together to minimize waste and maximize material yield.

This not only saves material, but also increases the efficiency of the manufacturing process. Thanks to the precise arrangement of the components, CAM nesting enables unique accuracy in production. Every detail is taken into account, from the material properties to the specific production requirements. This results in products of outstanding quality and consistency. 

1.2 Modern CAM nesting: software requirements

Dental CAD/CAM programs use digital impressions to create precise 3D models of the patient's teeth. These impressions can either be taken directly in the patient's mouth using intraoral scanners (optical impressions) or digitized indirectly from conventional impressions, models or bite impressions. Various scanning techniques, mechanical scanning procedures or other methods can be used. To facilitate the design, the programs often have libraries with prefabricated components such as implants, connecting elements, abutments and models of crowns, occlusal surfaces and bridge pontics.

In general, CAD programs occupy an important key position within the dental production chain, as they enable the representation, linking and processing of the electronic data captured. This allows the user to virtually plan and optimize the desired work with regard to various parameters. Once computer-aided design (CAD) has been completed, planning is carried out as part of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). As this can be carried out immediately afterwards or at a great distance in terms of time and space, it is possible to integrate the same CAD and/or CAM program as so-called "OEM" software into the products of various third-party suppliers. The abbreviation "OEM" stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer".

In principle, it is possible to design any dental work up to 100% using CAD/CAM software and manufacture it from a wide range of materials. Examples of dental work or indications include inlays, model casts, abutments, crowns, bridges, drilling templates, bars or various dental splints.

A decisive requirement is the coordination of data exchange between the interfaces of CAD/CAM programs used in dental technology. Common data formats, such as the STL format, play an important role here. The STL format is characterized by the ability to divide three-dimensional surfaces into tiny, geometric triangles that are easy to describe.

So-called "open" data formats can be used on any manufacturing machines, such as milling units or generative manufacturing devices for processing materials. (Open" data formats are a specification of digital data that can be used without any technical or legal restrictions. In contrast, "closed" systems provide company-specific, i.e. "secret" data formats. These can only be used and processed on licensed or company-owned devices.

As a particularly high level of precision is required, the appropriate CAM nesting software must be able to handle extremely large data sets. The corresponding computer and production systems must therefore have an extremely high data processing capacity and speed.


1.3 Advantages of CAM nesting:

The implementation of CAM nesting in manufacturing processes offers a number of advantages that have a positive impact on various aspects of production. Some of the most important advantages of this technology are explained in detail below:

1.    Material savings: The optimized arrangement of the parts on the material sheet minimizes waste, which leads to considerable savings in material costs.

2.    Increased material yield: CAM nesting makes it possible to make optimum use of the available space on the material sheet, resulting in a higher material yield and reducing the need for additional material.

3.    Time saving: The automated creation of nesting configurations saves time compared to manual placement of parts on the material sheet.

4.    Improved production planning: By using materials efficiently, manufacturing companies can plan their production processes better and reduce bottlenecks.

5.    Flexibility: Thanks to CAM nesting, dental laboratories are able to meet customer requirements flexibly and offer customized solutions. By using digital manufacturing processes, they can easily adapt to changing requirements.

1.4 Conclusion

In summary, CAM nesting is a key technology in the manufacturing industry that makes a significant contribution to improving quality by minimizing material waste and increasing the efficiency of production processes. Particularly noteworthy is the application in the dental industry, where dental nesting enables optimum utilization of the material surface when processing multilayer blanks.

Thanks to the precise visualization of the colour gradient, the nesting software makes a significant contribution to planning reliability and supports the digital work process, ensuring the controlled quality of dental bridges and crowns. Despite certain challenges, such as the complexity of the software and its specific application limits, CAM nesting remains an indispensable solution that helps to strengthen competitiveness. With continuous innovation and development, future CAD nesting technologies are expected to further optimize production processes.