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08.07.2016

Everything began with a defective handpiece

Dürr Dental celebrates its 75th anniversary. Success is not always something that can be planned. Instead, success is often the result of a good idea paired with discipline and a certain amount of luck. The history of Dürr Dental is a good case in point. Starting 75 years ago as a two-man company, it has since advanced to become a leading international player in the provision of dental medical technology. But how did it happen exactly? Everything began with a defective handpiece.

In the November of 1946, Frida Dürr had terrible toothache. The great aunt of the current managing director of Dürr Dental, Martin Dürrstein, consulted her local dentist Dr Kurt Schwille in Adlingen. Diagnosing caries and an inflamed nerve, he began to drill out the offending area of tooth. Unable to proceed due to the breakage of his only rotating handpiece, he was forced to improvise, removing the carious dentine by hand and inserting a provisionary filling. The poor man was at his wits end - only eighteen months after the end of the war, parts were scarce and he did not know where he was going to find a replacement. He asked Mrs Dürr, whether she could ask her husband to have a look at the broken part. An engineer by training, Wilhelm Dürr was a partner of a precision machine tools company he had founded together with his brother in 1941. Although never having worked with such instruments, he was able to repair the handpiece. In so doing, he had inadvertently discovered a gap in the market: dental instruments. Deciding to try their hand at medical technology, little did Karl and Wilhelm Dürr realise that they were about to revolutionise dental treatment for all time. Founding the new company "K. & W. Dürr – Dental-Fabrikation“ in 1948.

From tinkerers to the development of dental products

They soon expanded from the repair of specialist dental instruments to the development of new dental products. Seeking to make dental work easier and the patient experience more pleasant, Dürr Dental announced itself with a bang at the International Dental Fair in Düsseldorf in 1951, where they presented their motor for bending shafts. Revolutionising the world of dental drilling, this represented a sensational breakthrough in dental technology – a dental drill with an angled head containing a tiny tube that delivered a water jet straight onto the drill. The dental world was impressed. The coming years saw a wave of further innovations in the field of aspiration and compressed air technology in the 1950s and oil-free compressor technology and » X-ray film development systems in the 1960s. The 1990s saw Dürr dental move into the field of digital imaging, with the production of intraoral cameras and X-ray sensors. The dawn of a new century brought the » image plate scanner and the » digital X-ray system. The launch of the » Vector system in 1999 saw a further step, with Dürr Dental entering the periodontological and prophylaxis sector. Seeking to remain at the cutting edge of dental technology, Dürr Dental continues to pioneer new developments in every sector.

From manufacturer to solution provider

Over the decades, the company has increasingly moved away from its status as a developer of products to the provision of complete solutions. After its market launch of the first suction units, Dürr Dental was confronted by the fact that no adequate disinfectant was available for this new technology. The challenge was to develop a disinfectant that covered a range of requirements, such as being foam-free, effective and compatible with all materials. The company did this with » Orotol®, which was launched in 1965 and remains the gold standard today for suction unit disinfection. It was supplemented in 1986 by further products with the four-colour system for all practice, clinic and laboratory applications.

With its development of a range of co-ordinated products and preparations, Dürr Dental has repeatedly displayed a fine awareness of the needs of its customers. In modern dentistry, time is a commodity in very short supply. This explains the increased need for system solutions that significantly improve the practice workflow. This approach also plays a role in the development of the VitaSystem for digital diagnostics. The Dürr dental intraoral camera » VistaCam iX HD, the image plate scanner VistaScan, the panorama X-ray unit » VistaPano S and the » imaging software VistaSoft all mesh together, providing the best-possible picture quality together with excellent ergonomic features.

From solution provider to global player

Dürr Dental has won a range of prizes for its products, including the internationally-renowned Good Design, iF Design and Red Dot awards. Employing over 1,000 staff in 40 countries, Dürr Dental exports its products to over 125 countries. Dental professionals in a range of contexts – practices, laboratories and clinics – all value the products from Dürr Dental.

Living values as a factor for success.

In addition to its 75-year history as an uninterrupted driving force for innovation, Dürr Dental has consistently remained faithful to its community-based values of fairness and social responsibility. Indeed, this commitment is just as much a factor for success as product quality and customer focus. This fact has also achieved wide recognition, with Dürr Dental receiving prizes such as the n-tv Mittelstandpreis, the Hidden Champion Award for "social responsibility" and the Deutsche Unternehmer Preis from the Harvard Clubs of Germany. The company places especial importance on social responsibility, both locally (the company funds many local sports clubs) and at international level, participating in the organisation » "Mercy Ships".

Focusing on the future

The management and staff at Dürr Dental can look back with justifiable pride at 75 years of success, and can welcome the future with confidence. Further innovations will be unveiled at German exhibitions this coming autumn: these will be presented to international specialists by IDS 2017 at the latest.

Published by: ml/rf
Everything began with a defective handpiece