September 21, 2015
A groundbreaking system that uses 3D modelling of a patient’s facial bones to help guide surgeons during risky dental implant procedures is set to throw a Sydney manufacturer further into the world spotlight.
Breseight Group, already achieving more than 250 per cent growth in its advanced manufacturing arm this year, is about to launch its innovative ImplaNav system to thousands of delegates at the 2015 EAO Scientific Meeting in Stockholm.
Breseight managing director Kevin Cullen says the company designed the image- guided software system – which helps reduce human error and dramatically reduces costs – in conjunction with surgeons.
The technology also enables the use of better patient health care technologies such as microsurgery process applications that are harmless to soft tissue.
Mr Cullen says there is only one other competitor in the world with any kind of similar offering.
Under Breseight’s technology, a scan is taken of the patient’s facial bones, which is then imported into Breseight’s software. A 3D model is created, which the periodontist and dental professional use to create a treatment plan in cases of reconstruction and implantology – or where implants should be inserted.
“We overlay the virtual planning environment world on the physical patient and then the surgeon can go in and be guided by the virtual image,” says Mr Cullen.
“It would give the periodontist and dental professional a major reduction in business costs. Specifically, due to using our technology he doesn’t need to buy inaccurate surgical guides, as well, he can give better care to his patient.
“It eliminates a lot of risk. Currently, where surgical guides cannot be used, he drills holes that are harmful to bone and soft tissue and places implants in places where it’s all on the surgeon to get it right.”
The breakthrough, already receiving global interest pre-launch, is just the latest innovation from a company that has transformed itself from its 1984 beginnings as a toolmaking “job shop”.
Founded by Bob Cullen and Kevin Rix, the company was bought by their sons Kevin Cullen and Tracy Rix in 1994.
By 2005, the Australian manufacturing industry had been contracting for about 25 years, and Mr Cullen said something had to give.
So he and Rix began making small, progressive changes to transform much of Breseight’s focus towards advanced manufacturing, investing millions in cutting-edge 3D printing machines and staff training.
Mr Cullen says the company made a conscious decision to be in the business of development.
“The margins are higher in the development area rather than being at the end of a mature aged product where margins are lower.”
As manufacturing margins continued to become tighter, the Breseight Group has also become a vertically integrated company with a lean supply chain.
Mr Cullen says that growth of the business – including the advanced manufacturing area side and the more traditional arm – was originally projected to grow by 100 per cent this year, but was now on track to boom by more than 250 per cent.
“A sustainable expansion like this has never been seen by our company during its period of operation.”
He says Breseight’s focus on innovation, which has led to demand from small and large clients that have viable businesses across market sectors, has fuelled much of the growth.
“There’s a lot of design and developments that clients are going through at the moment and they need prototypes, they need working models. They need toolmaking skills,” says Mr Cullen.
Mr Cullen says the biggest challenge for his company is still battling to prosper in what remains a tough manufacturing environment.
“Industry and government need to sit down and design a proper environment for manufacturing to exist in Australia. It’s not hard – we’ve got the right pieces, all we’ve got to do is rearrange them,” he says.
“Government departments are simply not being internationally competitive. They’ve got time on their side, whereas the industry needs to be agile and efficient now.”
Mr Cullen says Australia’s manufacturing industry had contracted to half its size since about 1980, but manufacturing remains one of Australia’s top employers.
“Australia has a fantastic opportunity in manufacturing, and as time goes on the opportunity is growing. We just need to design the environment.”