This week saw the announcement of the HP and Smile Direct Club partnership, which aims to significantly lower the cost of dental alignment with a direct-to-consumer model. Instead of going to an orthodontist, patients take a mold of their bite at home and create an imprint of their teeth, which becomes the basis of a 3D-printed mouth mold for aligners that progressively straighten teeth over time at about a third of the cost of traditional braces. SmileDirectClub is starting up the largest Multi Jet Fusion factory in the country to produce more than 50,000 unique mouth molds per day.
On the heels of this partnership, Schell says that disrupting the $12 billion orthodontics industry is one way 3D printing technology will radically improve options available to consumers, making the manufacturing of goods more efficient and sustainable while enabling faster turnaround times. From parts for automakers like Volkswagen and BMW, to a myriad of industrial parts, to consumer products like custom inserts for shoes, 3D printing is at the heart of a larger economic transformation called the fourth industrial revolution, which signals a massive shift in the way we will design, manufacture and consume goods.
But no one company can do it alone — it takes a “village” of partners and other companies. That’s why Schell is not only building a business that’s set to further scale its disruptive Multi Jet Fusion technology, but is also building out a new community to make it happen.
“New technology innovations will be required, new partnership models will emerge, and new modes of doing business will unfold,” says Schell, who started at the company as an intern and rose to head the 3D printing unit after holding senior management roles across the globe, most recently as President of the Americas. “You have all kinds of different stakeholders across industry, academia and politics coming together to accelerate and to make it work,” he says. We sat down with Schell, who is now based in Palo Alto, California, ahead of the SmileDirectClub partnership announcement to hear how HP’s 3D printing technology is shaping our future.