3D Systems has issued a statement on the company’s ongoing partnership with Align Technology. The statement is in response to significant shareholder inquiries related to Align’s recent announcement that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held company Cubicure Gmbh. 3D Systems does not expect that the deal with Cubicure will affect it’s ongoing (and very remunerative) partnership with Align Technologies. At least for the foreseeable future.
3D Systems’ 25-year partnership with Align – where 3D Systems provides hardware, materials, processing, and services for Align in connection with its highly efficient indirect production of aligners – remains strong. Align operates hundreds of 3D Systems’ printers producing over one million parts daily and continues to rely on 3D Systems to support its operations. 3D Systems’ forecasts remain intact and already account for Align’s existing partnership with Cubicure.
“3D Systems continues to be a critical partner for Align,” said Emory Wright, executive vice president of Global Operations at Align Technology. “We have worked with them over the past 25 years to transform a prototyping technology to a mass production system. Over those years we have been able to make significant advancements in the accuracy and productivity of the technology and we will continue to work with them to further advance our indirect printing of aligners into the future.”
Cubicure’s R&D efforts on the direct 3D printing of aligners have had no impact on 3D Systems. 3D Systems continues to move forward with advanced R&D to further its capabilities for the direct printing of aligners as that approach is further evaluated as a complement to well-established and highly efficient indirect production.
In 2018, 3D Systems revealed that its SLA 3D printers help Align Technology produce 1.6 million aligners per week. Since its inception, Align has partnered with 3D Systems to create a unique, end-to-end manufacturing workflow that produces more than 320,000 unique medical devices (Invisalign clear aligners) per day. Align has harnessed the accuracy and scalability of 3D printing to grow its patient base by nearly six times since 2009, with more than 5.8 million patients treated globally.
Align continues to expand and scale its operations and manufacturing, including localized production in key markets like Asia Pacific, where it recently opened manufacturing to serve the local market. Align estimates the total Asia Pacific market for Invisalign clear aligner treatments to be 3 million cases per year. Anticipated overall market growth for the orthodontics market in China is 15 – 20 percent annually.
“Align Technology disrupted the orthodontic industry by creating a digital approach to straightening teeth that makes treatment possible for more people than ever,” said Srini Kaza, vice president, of product innovation, Align Technology. “None of what we have been able to achieve would be possible without 3D printing technology.”