Orthodontic appliances are highly customizable pieces of work, some would say even artwork. As such, automation is almost nonexistent when it comes down to manufacturing an appliance. Yes, there is certain technology that will allow you to provide a better product whether it is higher quality or a better fit for the patient, either quality or comfort, or both. That technology is not coming close to being able to replace the hands of an experienced technician.
At China Orthodontic Lab, we have technicians with over 35 years, 25 years, 15 years of experience. It’s very, very hard for a machine to be able to replicate that level of customization and the character that a hand bent wire gives to our retainer. No machine can replace that. Also, retainers and appliances in general are highly customizable. You can’t have a machine bending parts 1,000 pieces a minute when the part you need for the next case is going to be totally different from the one you use now.
That’s why automation doesn’t really form an integral part of our production line. In certain ways, it still allows us to keep retainers to have a lot of character and be a source of pride because they’re completely made by hand.