COMPANY STORIES. THE STORY BEHIND DMG COMPANY & PRODUCTS?
DMG was founded by Ernst Mühlbauer in Hamburg back in 1963. Having already gained considerable experience in the manufacture of dental materials, he wanted to transform this field. His primary aim? The manufacture of silicate cements. The location? No, not in a garage where inventions tend to start out, but in his kitchen at home! The starting capital? Minimal. The success of his very first product came down to pure determination and a skill for improvisation.
Dr Wolfgang Mühlbauer, who was born the year the company was founded, and whose birthday is actually the date of its registration, took over his work in 1998. This August will see us celebrating our 60th anniversary with all employees in Hamburg.
The company has grown from a small kitchen-based business to occupying 5 large buildings in Hamburg, the most recent of which is currently being remodeled for additional production and office space, with approx. 500 employees, and several international subsidiaries.
Interview with Dr. Hans-Dieter Höhnk, Head of Corporate Development at DMG.
Easy Engineering: Which areas are you active in?
Hans-Dieter Höhnk: DMG started with a variety of dental materials based on a sound knowledge of chemistry and manufacturing. Combining superior materials with sophisticated application systems proved remarkably successful, for example in the form of a patented self-activating amalgam capsule.
While many of the original products have now given way to new ones, some have been continually developed and improved further.
Since the 2000s, DMG has been driving advances in application, the reliable, quick, and easy use of materials, and optimum material quality. Today, DMG is the integral part of a larger group of companies predominantly active in the dental industry. This group also includes KTR, an injection molding company, and MOIIN, which offers 3D printing materials for industrial applications.
E.E: What would you say have been the most notable projects in the company’s history?
H.D.H: The company started with dental cements. A breakthrough in the company’s success was the patented self-activating amalgam capsule in the seventies. The material portfolio was then extended to include silicone impression materials, which led to the development of a fully automated device for mixing the two-component systems in the nineties. 2009 saw the launch of Icon, the first (and only) product for innovative infiltration therapy, which enables early caries treatment without drilling.
In anticipation of the digital revolution, we also developed and launched a range of dental materials for DLP 3D printing. About four years ago, the MOIIN brand was introduced to make chemical expertise, such as the high precision made possible by CDB (cure depth barrier) technology, available to applications outside of dentistry.
E.E: Which projects have been the most challenging?
H.D.H: Developing reliable materials for additive manufacturing is in itself challenging, especially when this is for open systems. Results are dependent upon a number of parameters, post-processing options, well calibrated printers, and good software. There are additional challenges if a printed part is not the final product but part of a manufacturing process, such as in the case of jewelry.
E.E: What types of products and services do you offer?
H.D.H: Our MOIIN materials are optimized for open systems. Supported technologies include DLP, SLA, and LCD with 385 or 405 nm.
Our materials are used in diverse industries, including in jewelry production, manufacturing, science, education, design, and medical technology.
Further optimizations for own printing processes are possible upon request. We take time for our customers and their individual requirements, and work together on viable solutions.
We are also about to introduce a new printing service, which will enable the printing of customer-specific objects of all kinds using MOIIN materials.
E.E: Can you tell us about your most innovative products / services and what special features they have?
H.D.H: There is innovation in virtually all MOIIN materials: one example is our CDB technology, which offers exceptionally precise printing. CDB stands for Cure Depth Barrier. It describes the minimised overcuring of 3D printing resins in the Z axis, which results in an unprecedented precision across all dimensions of a printed object.
An innovative field of application we are currently exploring is microfluidics, and several of our materials are delivering very promising results.
We are also working on plant-based materials; last year at Formnext we presented a prototype with 78% soy-based monomers.
Dr. Hans-Dieter Höhnk, Head of Corporate Development at DMG.
Dr Höhnk holds a doctorate in chemistry and has 30 years of professional experience in the field of high-tech materials, working for DMG. He has been active in the field of 3D printing for over 10 years, with a particular focus on the DLP process and polymerizable resins.
E.E: How much research goes into products/solutions and how important is R&D?
H.D.H: Research is very important to our group. 20% of our 500 employees work directly or indirectly in Research and Development, and several patents are filed every year.
E.E: Which products / solutions do you plan to launch in future?
H.D.H: We will be expanding our portfolio in terms of casting materials, especially for jewelry, and microfluidics, and we will also continue to work on ecological plant-based materials.
E.E: How important is after-sales service?
H.D.H: DMG products, whether in the dental or industrial sectors, are very complex and require explanation, which is why the service concept and customer loyalty are very important to us.
E.E: And what about social responsibility – what part does it play in the company?
H.D.H: Our group is a second-generation family-owned company, with a great sense of responsibility towards the environment and employees.
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