[Story of Amber #4] Amber Mill is the Future
  • Date : 2022.05.31

Easing The Daily Grind

Raymond Otto,

Zfx UK Milling Centre Owner

DB Lab Supplies spoke to Raymond Otto, of Zfx Birmingham, about his growing milling business,

how he sees the future of digital dentistry evolving, and why he uses Amber Mill, from DB Lab Supplies.

Dentistry continues to evolve, and over the past few years, CAD/CAM milling centres have become instrumental in steering its direction.

Through offering scanning and milling services to laboratories, milling centres offer many benefits to the technician.

Zfx is at the heart of this movement. Raymond and his team provide a complete scanning and milling service,

in addition to high-end scanners, milling machines, materials and components. To complement the offering,

courses for technicians are available. Raymond Otto heads the UK business and has ambitious plans for Zfx Birmingham.

Zfx CAD-CAM suite at Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham

Raymond, tell us about yourself

Originally from South Africa, I have lived in England for 21 years. 

I am now married to Rachael who is originally from Sheffield and we have two amazing daughters.

Before the life of dentistry, I achieved Comptia A+ Certification in IT 

but I have always had a great interest in dentistry from an early age due to my father being a dentist. 

I remember him making dentures after hours, late into the night, for some of his patients!

I eventually studied Dental Technology through De Montfort University.

During that time, I was lucky enough to train with Geoff Halligan at his laboratory in Birmingham.

I started as a metalworker and headed the CAD/CAM department.

Geoff had a CAD room with 5 different scanners from different manufacturers.

It was an incredible environment to work in and I count myself extremely fortunate.

What motivated you to take on Zfx UK?

It has always been an ambition of mine to start milling in-house 

and we have dipped our toe in with smaller machines.

Geoff has been good friends with the founders of Zfx which originated in Altomunster, Germany. 

This connection led to an opportunity to head the Zfx UK franchise and we could not pass it up.

ZimmerBiomet came on board a couple of years after this

and Zfx Milling centres are now the official and authorized milling partners for ZimmerBiomet Dental.

Raymond’s wife Rachel, and their two daughters.

How do you support laboratories?

Zfx produces milled and printed products of all kinds but do not do any final finishing. 

We are CAD/CAM specialists that work closely with fellow dental technicians. 

This combination of specialists working together produces the most optimum products possible, 

and in the end, the best results for the patients. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Titanium bar with Zest anchors for removable Prosthesis.

DMG Ultrasonic 20 with Sauer automation

What advantages do laboratories have by using milling centres?

Milling centres can offer a range of comprehensive services and materials expanding upon the products

that labs can offer to their clinicians. Labs are no longer limited by a lack of time or by a digital-skills-shortage.

Zfx respects the process chain from Clinician to Laboratory acting as digital backup to technicians.

Clinicians are satisfied that they only have to spend time to interact with their existing laboratory.

Milling is not generally the fundamental business of a dental laboratory. Outsourcing can greatly alleviate

the pressure on cash flow. Investment on new machines, repairs, staff training and license fees are constant.

Zfx caters for clients at any level by offering not only a scan,

design and milling service, but also offering scanners, milling machines and all components and

materials necessary in any part of the production chain.

Primacon PFM 4024 with Primacon Automation

What changes have you seen in the industry since Covid-19 hit?

It has been a tough and uncertain time for everybody.

Obviously, the NHS market has been hit the hardest.

The private sector has been normalising ever since the clinicians have been able to return to work,

and we have been fortunate enough to be relatively busy since then. 

There is a huge backlog of patients for NHS treatment. 

I anticipate that there may be more private work than ever due to patients not being able to wait for NHS care.

You are extending your premises! Tell us a little more about that.

Geoff Halligan is heading the ever-expanding building project.

We started with a small, tiled area which housed our first milling machine (PRIMACON Eco 3015) to now,

after having extended our occupancy sideways, also building a new floor above the current premises.

This is with a view to have a dedicated training- and conference-room separating

the training facility from the every-day work. This huge undertaking is also to create some space downstairs for more machines!

Exciting times: Zfx Birmingham is growing and always a work-in-progress

Raymond Otto, Geoff Halligan and team members Mostafa Jafari, Hafsah Hussain, Vu Bui

Using Amber Mill significantly reduces the lab inventory for lithium disilicate.

Why do you use Amber lithium disilicate and DB Lab Supplies?

I produced some Amber glass ceramic on the request of a customer.\

I quickly found out the benefits this material has to the technicians working with it.

There is 1 block of material per shade but the firing cycle on the laboratory’s side predicts 4 different levels of opacity.

From a milling point of view, this means that using this material reduces stock levels by at least half!

Amber Mill possesses a more detailed edge definition,

and increased bur yield over other products we have milled in the past.

Christian Hickman cleaning the inside of one of the machines

What plans do you have for the future?

On the horizon at the moment is expanding the production side of the business by adding another

Zfx Inhouse x5 machine and also a Primacon PFM 4024.

We have been looking into inhouse laser sintering for quite some time so will be further exploring this possibility.

*source : https://www.dblabsupplies.co.uk/


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