Innovative production processes, individual support at eye level, flexible services and quality products according to the principle "Made in Germany": that is Infinident Solutions. Anyone who opens the company's homepage will come across these promises. We asked how Managing Director Thomas Hack keeps these promises, what Infinident can do and where the journey is still heading.
dl: Who is Thomas Hack? What are your professional origins and what made you join Infinident?
Thomas Hack: You could probably describe me as a typical career changer. After training as a banker and studying business administration in Frankfurt/Main and San Diego, I spent about five years managing corporate development at the Sirona Dental Group, after working in private equity and investment banking. Since 2010, I have been working there as Managing Director since the spin-off of the central manufacturing activities, first for Infinident Services and then, after, the buyout, for Infinident Solutions GmbH since 2018. Now I am 47 years old and live here in the Rhine-Main area with my wife, three children and a dog.
dl: You came from a completely foreign industry - how was it for you to get started in the field of dental?
Thomas Hack: It was indeed made very easy for me at Sirona Dental Systems. As the person responsible for corporate development, I had to quickly familiarise myself with all the company's business areas. Here, the recourse to a large number of outstanding colleagues from the individual segments was a great help. And once you get caught up in the "dental fever", many things almost come naturally. However, the fact of changing to an industry as a non-specialist also has the advantage of being able to look at topics from a different perspective.
Thomas Hack: "Once you are gripped by 'dental fever', many things almost happen by themselves".
dl: What do you currently see as the greatest potential in dental technology as a career changer?
Thomas Hack: Still in the constantly developing technological progress and the accompanying transfer of activities that were previously handcraft-based to CAD/CAM-guided processes. One of the buzzwords here is certainly always 3D printing, in other words, additive manufacturing technologies. But the transformation will certainly continue, and it will be exciting to see how once individual isolated solutions in dental technology can be further merged and adapted to the processes of dentists and, above all, dental laboratories. There are already some exciting approaches here, but the complete integration of digital processes will certainly accompany us for a long time as one of the major topics. The resulting increase in efficiency and the reduction of inefficiencies will allow us to concentrate on value-adding processes, such as aesthetics, and to focus more on the customer.
Infinident Solutions can meet the digital requirements of their customers.
be met. Whether structures in the SLM process, ...
dl: Great potentials usually also harbour great dangers - where do you see these dangers lurking at the moment?
Thomas Hack: That is unfortunately true. Apart from the obvious risk of getting carried away on technological terrain - I'm thinking of the high investment risk in particular - there is definitely the danger of pushing the craftsmanship of dental technology further and further into the background. If, on the other hand, the keyboard is mastered, it may be possible to further increase the level of quality, to win new talent or to inspire the next generation for dental technology.
dl: Let's talk about Infinident. What can you produce here? What services do you have in store for the dental world? Are there any limitations?
Thomas Hack: Compared to the past, Infinident Solutions has a much broader technological base. This allows us to perfectly meet the digital requirements of our customers today and, as one of the largest industry- and laboratory-independent CAD/CAM service providers, to provide our customers with suitable solutions free from corporate considerations. We believe that - building on our more than 15 years of experience in the production of industrially manufactured semi-finished products for dental laboratories and our broad technological base - we are more than just a reliable partner for the dental laboratory. Infinident has a wide range of machinery at its disposal, from systems for laser melting of crowns, bridges, RPDs or orthodontic appliances, for example, as well as SLA/DLP printing processes for working models, to five-axis simultaneous milling machines and grinding units for crowns, bridges, implant superstructures, splints or drilling templates. But also the purchase of model analogues from various manufacturers for in-house printing is quickly and easily possible via our webshop. As an official reseller for the exocad DentalCAD software, we also offer interested customers independent advice in this area. At the same time, as a manufacturer of semi-finished parts, we are equipped with an extensive quality assurance system according to ISO 13485:2016, not only with regard to the MDR (editor's note: MDR = Medical Device Regulation). The exclusive use of CE-certified raw materials, regular market monitoring, risk assessment as well as batch traceability enable our customers to enjoy the greatest possible safety at all times.
... or CNC milled manufacturing...
dl: How is the time schedule regulated? What data do you need? How long does it take for the requested part to arrive back at the laboratory?
Thomas Hack: Depending on the product, Infinident processes different data formats. Of course, we can always produce on the basis of STL data, but depending on the indication, we prefer to upload original data. This enables us to make minor adjustments in case of problems - of course only after approval by the customer. This saves the customer effort and eliminates the need for later discussions in the event of possible complaints. Incidentally, we also carry out a thorough incoming inspection for this reason. All work that reaches us by 12 noon is processed on the same day and usually dispatched within 24 hours. Thanks to close cooperation with our logistics service provider DHL Express, the customer can receive the package by 12 noon the following day.
dl: It is often difficult for dental technicians to outsource tasks. I'm thinking of possibly more complicated communication and, above all, the lack of added value in their own laboratory. How do you alleviate these concerns for dental technicians?
Thomas Hack: We expressly see the lack of added value differently! If the value creation of the dental laboratory consists of producing semi-finished preliminary products by means of 3D printing and/or milling technology, then the self-image is wrong. Generally, value creation is calculated in a simplified way as production value minus intermediate inputs. Infinident, as a pure supplier of semi-finished products, ensures as an input supplier in particular that the best possible starting point for the value creation in the laboratory, i.e. the dental service production, is guaranteed. This may be different for a production service provider with an associated laboratory, because there is always the potential risk that the same service could also be offered directly to a dentist. With us, communication always takes place at eye level, because our dental technology support team is made up exclusively of master dental technicians who have already spent several years actively working on the creation of value in the dental laboratory and are therefore all too familiar with the typical challenges of everyday laboratory work. In summary, we see ourselves more as "enablers", i.e. in a business-supporting function or as the much-mentioned extended workbench and thus part of the team. This is what our clients appreciate about our services.
or individual implant structures - everything is possible.
dl: If you could wish for something in the dental industry, what would it be?
Thomas Hack: I would wish for a more rational approach. What I mean by that is that in my eyes, as a newcomer to the industry, there is a tendency towards ruinous price dumping. Here, laboratories tend to undercut the other laboratory solely on the basis of price. In the process, quality is inevitably lost sight of. For a German laboratory, however, the dental prosthesis from abroad or from the "cheap shop" around the corner should not be the standard. We invest too much in excellent training and in our outstanding talent in the laboratories for that. A rethink here would benefit the entire industry.
The interview was conducted by Kerstin Jung
In the article published in das dental labor, April 2021 issue, the values and strategy of INFINIDENT Solutions are described in an interview with Thomas Hack, Managing Partner.
You will find the link to the full article here (soon).
das dental labor | 04.2021
INTERVIEW, page 63-65
Handwerk goes digital!
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