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Building in systems and languages of trust

| Company

An interview with Dental Asia about the opening of the Competence & Service Center Asia.

As a first-time exhibitor at the recent IDEM 2024 in Singapore, imes-icore’s physical presence of both staff and equipment represents the realisation of a picture over 20-years in the making since its founding in 2002. Dental Asia speaks with Christoph Stark, CEO, and Christian Mueller, COO and managing director,of imes-icore on how it plans to complete this frame.

On 31 Aug 2023, imes-icore opened its new Competence & Service Center in Singapore as part of its global expansion strategy in Asia. Responding to a strong demand for CAD/CAM systems in the region, the centre was established to support its regional customers in covering all aspects of its CAD/CAM systems, from installation, service and maintenance support, and training for end users.

Helmed by Joerg Brenn, general manager of imes-icore Asia, who holds over 30 years of experience for building offices from scratch in Asia Pacific, Brenn was joined by the visiting management team from imes-icore some eight months later at IDEM to mark not only its presence, but ambitions in Asia.

“We have been serving Asia since many years, but it was just a region where we ship our machines and that is it. Now we have a strong footprint here and we have a commitment linked to this footprint. We came to stay here,” said Mueller.

Mueller noted that the opening of its Competence & Service Center Asia has been received well among its distributors and end users. “What we hear is a lot of positive responses, and what we see in general is that our customers appreciate our approach to be closer to them,” he added.

imes-icore's distributors are positioned as the first level of support for end users. The office in Asia now forms the second level of support for customers, by working closely with distributors on competence and qualifications through initiatives like its CORiTEC training academy, extended warranty contracts, and preventive maintenance services.

“I think it is still important that the first level support is still up to the distributor. He must be responsible because he sells the machine. But we are now here to do the second level of support with close access in the same time zone. We can make sure the dealer has the right qualifications and is capable to provide the best possible support," said Mueller.

Moreover, Stark highlighted that with imes-icore’s systems being positioned as a premium offering, the level of support provided should be of an equally premium service that inspires trust in its users.

“The name is important to understand, 'Competence & Service Center', because this is exactly what we mean — service and support training. The dental technology in Germany is the highest worldwide. We want to bring not only the service for the machines, but also the applications and indications needed for the user to produce. We want to train our customers and this is only possible with our own staff,” said Stark.


Inspiring confidence in its investment and goals in Asia, the pair pointed that among the mass, middle, and premium offerings, they see enough potential in the Asian market for its premium class systems. Moreover, they believe that customers seek value above anything. For imes-icore, this means a seamless and integrated workflow for a hassle-free experience.

“It is our philosophy to offer open systems and workflows, but we think there is a great benefit to have all the bits and pieces fit together. A customer does not want to care if a CAM works with a machine, tool, or milling strategy because they can trust our system where everything is validated and integrated,” said Mueller.

Moreover, beyond the ease-of-use which integrated systems provides, integration is how the pair sees technology developing within the next 5-10 years, where advancements will push systems towards digitalisation and automation.

Recognising this shift, imes-icore rolled out its Dental Smart Market (DSM) in 2023, as an integrated and automated platform for its customers and marketplace partners to facilitate services such as procurement, maintenance planning, inventory management, and real-time status updates.

“With this digital network, we can send a message directly to the machine even before the user knows the next step. We can offer users the right time for maintenance or to change a part. We can offer users better solutions for dental applications, such as denture production, by sending direct information to optimise their workflow. These are all digital because with these solutions, we are able to support our global customers globally despite tight time, labour, or geographical constraints," said Stark.

The DSM in combination with the Smart-Control User-Interface also provides diagnostics opportunities through smart control systems and notifies users of potential errors. “If you analyse the root cause of a complaint with the machine, you figure out that 80% of the cases go down to approximately 10 root causes. The machine can tell you in 80% of the cases what the issue is and how to fix it, either as a user or a service partner, and these are the things which we will expand," said Mueller.

Stark envisions that through DSM, the intelligence of its systems would be as easy to use as a “coffee machine”. He added: “I always say that a milling machine alone is no solution — the milling machine is only one component for a whole production solution. We are not only a milling machine builder. While other companies only offer machines, customers need much more such as the right CAM, materials, interfaces, and tools. A machine is only a machine while customers are looking for production systems.”

Beyond building its DSM eco-system, Stark highlighted that the foundations for imes-icore’s expansion strategy in Asia was laid prior with strategic acquisitions to build a comprehensive portfolio of premium offerings.

Since 2018, imes-icore developed into a group of companies with the goal of offering dental production systems, consumables, and services to the market. Pritidenta, a German manufacturer of premium zirconia blocks, was acquired along with i-ProDens, a German technology and milling centre.

“The idea was to offer premium products at an affordable price. Due to the integration of Pritidenta into the imes-icore Group it was possible to increase the sales, and we were able to reduce the entry price for regular dentists and labs to access Pritidenta’s premium blanks for our CAD/CAM systems,” said Stark. Mueller added: “I think the acquisition of Pritidenta was also an important step to expand our offering because before we have only been a pure machine builder. Now with Pritidenta we can offer materials and a complete solution for the customer.”

imes-icore’s Competence & Service Center USA was also established through the integration of PM Technologies, a service company with many years of experience in servicing dental machines, which served as a footprint to launch the company’s first regional Competency & Service Center in 2019. This approach has also been replicated to guide the office in Singapore.

Moreover, having secured the materials, machines, and service centres, Mueller added that it “completed the picture” by housing the right experience all under one roof.

“Pritidenta’s CEO, David Figge is an important part of our dealer meetings because he is an expert in dental material technology who can answer questions in detail; he has the benefit of being part of our team for new opportunities. Stark and I are coming from the machine building business, and this is where we have a great synergy,” Mueller said.

With its Competence & Service Center Asia up and running, Mueller shared that this marks a pillar of strategic growth for the company due to the large population of customers and growing demand for restorations.

“I always like to count the number of inhabitants of countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with far larger populations than Germany’s 80 million residents. In a 5-10 year horizon, there is so much potential and this provides a lot of opportunities for us. imes-icore will not be focused so much on Germany or Europe anymore, it will be on Asia as an important pillar of our growth strategy,” said Mueller.

Furthermore, Stark highlighted that consumers are also increasingly expecting higher quality of restorations, as technology and materials improve. “It is also clear that everyone globally wants to have better teeth. Everybody wants to have a better fitting, longer lifetime, better materials, and quality, which is very normal. Nobody goes back. Everybody wants to have better solutions,” he said

Stark further shared that a premium offering also means a range of machines with different capabilities for customers. He highlighted the CORiTEC AM100 printer with its capability in titanium and cobalt-chrome production, the CORiTEC 350i X Pro series for its speed and quality, and the CORiTEC 150i series as a smaller-sized system without compromising on capabilities.

An important learning point for the pair in the past few months, is the statement, "Quality expectations in South East Asia are a bit lower than in the Western countries", no longer holding. “People want to have their standards like Germany or Western Europe or the US,” Mueller said.

It is in these nuances that Stark and Mueller are assured that imes-icore meets the needs of customers. Despite the emphasis placed on itself as a premium brand, the pair is confident that its production systems offer a competitive price-performance ratio.

Stark concluded: “That is the key, not just to build the cheapest machine. Given the customer's demand for good dental restorations, we think that is important to be improve in terms of precision and quality. We need to always bring a level of machines which can produce a range of premium products. A lesser-class system are not our vision.”