SmileDirectClub plans to 3D print 50,000 teeth-straightening molds a day

The medical industry has long been considered one of the most promising sources of growth for industrial 3D printing. It makes sense — getting a good fit requires the sort of exact measurements that can be accommodated by scanning and printing. Dental, in particular, has been a key driver, perhaps most notably in the case of Invisalign, which houses a warehouse full of printers.

Today at the Rapid 2019 conference in Detroit, SmileDirectClub announced that it’s making a major investment in HP’s industrial Multi Jet Fusion systems.The warehouse of 49 printers marks the largest deployment of the systems in the U.S. They’ll be put work around the clock, churning out teeth-straightening molds.

When all is up and running, the systems will be capable of producing up to 50,000 molds a day. If all goes according to plan, that should account for more than 18 million in a year. HP says its machines are currently responsible for around 99% of SmileDirect’s 3D printer manufacturing. This latest announcement effectively doubles its investment in the technology.

It’s a space worth watching for anyone with a passing interest in the technology. After years of experimentation and lofty promises, orthodontics represent a large-scale, real-world use for the tech.