Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The New Big Cad/Cam Opportunity in India

Over the past decade or a bit more, i have witnessed Cad/Cam technology have an impact over many industry sectors. Of course, the initial adoption started with the automotive companies moving from drawing boards to Autocad to 3D Modeling using feature based design. For automotive, the results were huge that translated directly to their top line results. Now, with CAD/CAM and other systems in place, automotive companies are able to produce better designs much faster than they could have ever imagined. But the actual beneficiary to this was the end user, who over the past decade had a much better driving experience and had new models arriving every year from different companies. All this could never have been possible without Cad/Cam.

The adoption of Cad/Cam by automotive companies cascaded a demand from their suppliers and other engineering companies who realized the importance of Cad/Cam adoption and slowly started to adopt the same. As a result, they were able to reduce costs, enhance product quality and also reduce the entire product lifecycle time. I myself have witnessed the adoption of Cad/Cam in many sectors starting to automotive to industrial and now to jewellery. Jewellery industry too now has a sizeable adoption of Cad/Cam. Although the larger companies have adopted the technology long back, smaller jewellers including family run firms and even retailers and now looking at Cad/Cam and the adoption is now increasing day by day. There is a huge opportunity in this segment too.

But the big Cad/Cam Opportunity today is in the dental field. In India, the dental industry is still 95% using low technology and Cad/Cam can revolutionise this. With the emergence of new dental materials that are far superior than the conventional ones, it will surely drive the demand. Also, Cad/Cam offers unmatched accuracy and quality that a patient would demand once he experiences the result. There are some significant and key benefits that Cad/Cam technology can offer to the dentist and those are accuracy, speed of delivery, reliability of results and lower manual intervention during the operation. For the patient, it offers a reliable implant or restoration that is customised as per their anatomy and therefore will be long lasting and painless. Also, newer materials like zirconia or glass ceramics offer strengths that are far superior to conventional materials. 3D printing using wax based systems are also used for producing complex implants, restorations and cast partials. Typically, today only about less than 5% of dental restorations and implants are produced using Cad/Cam technology, hence there exists a huge opportunity for Cad/Cam penetration in this segment as well. Hopefully the next decade will see a lot more of Cad/Cam in the dental labs and lot less patients complaining about the broken restoration.