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Amann Girrbach’s home base—the Vorarlberg region in Austria—is known locally as the Silicon Valley of the Alps. (Image: Dieter Kuhn/Shutterstock)

Amann Girrbach—quality, made in Austria

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International
December 16, 2020

KOBLACH, Austria: Headquartered in the Vorarlberg state of Austria—in the far west of the country, between the Alps and Lake Constance—the dental equipment manufacturer Amann Girrbach has been leading a quiet revolution for decades. As an early pioneer of dental CAD/CAM technologies, the company knows that the future of dentistry is digital, but it also understands that it will continue to rest on precision and quality. Dental Tribune International (DTI) visited the company’s home base and toured its newest manufacturing facility to find out more.

Known locally as the Silicon Valley of the Alps, Vorarlberg shares borders with Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is home to a string of high-tech manufacturing facilities belonging to some of the world’s best-known companies, including a disproportionate number of leading dental brands. Companies in the region enjoy creative cross-industry collaboration on projects, and they speak proudly about the Made in Austria brand. Amann Girrbach is one of them.

Patrick Amann, head of marketing at the company, met with DTI at Amann Girrbach’s headquarters in Koblach and provided us with a tour of its Dentustry One manufacturing facility, located in the nearby town of Rankweil. The technology within the facility was impressive—a printer that operates so finely that it can print on the surface of water, for example, and the intelligent internal logistics system manned by autonomous robots that transport materials throughout the facility to the appreciation of the more than 100 employees.

Purpose-built in 2017 in order to meet growing demand for dental equipment and materials, the 10,000 m2 production and research facility is one of the company’s most advanced. Zirconia blanks, milling machines and the digital prosthetics tool Ceramill Sintron are produced here, and a range of Amann Girrbach machines are assembled. The facility has an annual production capacity of 8,500 milling machines and 600,000 zirconia blanks, and around 100 t of zirconia powder is used at the site every year.

“We stand for precision and reliability, and we place a huge focus on the quality of our products” – Patrick Amann, head of marketing

“We do it in-house”—Amann Girrbach makes all of its own machine parts so that it can vouch for every component. (Image: Amann Girrbach)

Amann told DTI that the future of dentistry is no doubt digital, but he added that quality is increasingly the deciding factor behind decision-making on the part of the company’s customers. Recognition of the quality behind the Made in Austria brand is growing around the world, he said, adding that it already has a strong reputation in the dental industry.

One thing that sets the company apart from many of its competitors is the fact that Amann Girrbach makes all of its machine parts in-house. It has no third-party suppliers and can therefore vouch for every component of its machines. Amann explained that this is a crucial prerequisite for a company that stakes its reputation on the quality of each and every one of its products; he added that, often, he has to confirm this to customers. “They ask us again: really? And we’re able to say yes and confirm this. We do it all in-house, and we source only the best raw materials that are processed under the strictest procedures and certified processes. This is a very important part of our manufacturing, and the service that we offer to our customers.”

Additionally, Amann said that every item that is produced at Dentustry One is checked as part of the company’s strict quality control measures: “We stand for precision and reliability, and we place a huge focus on the quality of our products.

Quality control is an integral part of that, and that’s where one of the biggest differences lies.” Standing before cartons filled with hundreds of Zolid DNA blanks, Amann added: “Some suppliers may be cheaper, but they are checking perhaps one in ten of their products—if that. We check every one.”

As an early pioneer of digital dental prosthetics and CAD/CAM technologies, Amann Girrbach has long been focused on the development of non-haptic solutions for the dental market. DTI’s visit to the company took place during the coronavirus pandemic, and the company’s CEO, Dr Wolfgang Reim, said that the global health and economic crisis had already accelerated the push towards digital solutions.

Reim commented in an on-site interview: “Dentistry has gone through a relatively drastic transformation in the last six months. In our opinion, this wider structural change was already underway before the crisis—the pandemic has simply accelerated its development.”

He explained that the crisis has necessitated even more digitalisation within dental practice and an even greater digital focus in the development of tools and solutions for the dental industry. “We want to support our customers in this transformation,” he said. “We have been focused on the digitalisation of dental practice since the very early stages. In recent months, we have further refined this strategy, fully gearing our internal structures and product development towards digital transformation.”

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