Innovation changes products and progress changes behaviour. This motto for Acteon underpins all its recent successes. Julian English visited Acteon’s manufacturing operation near Marseilles to find out more.
Acteon’s current range of products is impressive. Significant innovation has resulted in a tranche of products of genuine value to the patient. And this is backed up by a strong after sales support machine from Acteon’s UK offices. Indeed Acteon has recently invested heavily in its UK operation to provide support for this fantastic tranche of new products launched earlier this year.
Innovation through research and development
Innovation has been in Acteon’s genes since its inception. Three product areas make up the product portfolio including consumables, small dental equipment and dental imaging. Each division has its own specialist team. More than 40 high-calibre pharmacists, biologists, electronics engineers, mechanics and digital signal specialists operate in Acteon’s research centres work to create new treatment solutions, all to ultimately benefit both the dental practitioner and the patient. These teams have much internal knowledge and expertise as well as valuable contacts with universities and international experts, who share their motivation to help dental surgeon’s benefit from the best adapted technology, to answer the requirements of a modern practice.
Research and development constitutes one of the major pillars of the the company’s strategy. The objective is to:
- Elaborate on strictly innovative technologies
- Design products that meet the requirements of dentists, general practitioners and specialists alike
- Apply products to therapeutic protocols that are the least invasive possible.
Innovative product portfolio
At IDS in Cologne the ‘first’ personal image plate scanner was launched – the exciting new PSPix2. Marketing manager and host Laurent Zenou demonstrated it to me at a visit to the manufacturing facility near Marseille. It is inter-surgery portable and very easy to use. As the smallest scanner in the market with a futurist yet elegant design, the PSPix can be located anywhere in the surgery. All you have to do is select your workstation on the touch screen, insert your imaging plate and the digital image is ready in a matter of seconds for fast and accurate diagnostic processes. All plates are automatically erased and ejected ready for immediate reuse.
Also launched earlier this year is another first in dentistry, Expazen provides all the benefits of retraction cord without any of the drawbacks. Simple to use and easy to apply in just 20 seconds, Expazen cord-paste takes on a viscoplastic consistency. With a specially design tip on the applicator, the capsule never comes into contact with the sulcus and the cord-paste is dense and wide enough to retract the gingiva without any risk of damage to the epithelial attachment. The release of aluminium chloride is also limited so as to ensure a safe, effective and atraumatic procedure. While Expazen acts in one to two minutes, its low solubility means it can safely remain in the sulcus for up to 12 minutes, before being removed in pieces, for a flexible working time.
Also in the world of digital dentistry, Acteon’s X-Mind Trium is a new 3D and panoramic imaging unit with the opportunity to upgrade from 2D to 3D and cephalometric modalities whenever you choose. Combining the smallest voxel size on the market at 75µm with the innovative in-house filters STAR (Spatial Technique for Artefact Reduction) and SHARP (Spatial High Amplitude Re-Processing) and four fields of view, the innovative system ensures outstanding image clarity for superior diagnostics with minimal radiation exposure. It is also the perfect tool for use in a wide range of clinical situations from implant surgery to endodontics, orthodontics and periodontal treatment.
Other innovative products include the Newtron P5XS ultrasonic unit – offering scaling from surgical grade stainless steel tips and apower-controlled vibration. The hardness of these tips is the closest to enamel of any tips on the market.
With 80% of its sales outside France, Acteon is now geared to be a truly international operation.
The company has 13 subsidiaries and sales offices (including the UK) and is strong in the USA, China and Japan.
Acteon started in 1946 with Pierre Rolland, a company that manufactures and sells consumables for dentists.
In the 1980s, Pierre Rolland merged with another high tech company – Satelec – creating Acteon. Indeed Acteon is now a world leader in small equipment and consumables for dentists, has become an internationally-established group employing more than 750 people, half of whom work outside France, in five manufacturing sites at Bordeaux, La Ciotat, Milan, Tüttlingen and Bilbao. The manufacturing and productions sites include:
- Acteon Pharma, based in Merignac (Bordeaux): consumables
- Acteon Equipment, based in Merignac (Bordeaux): small dental equipment
- Acteon Imaging, based in La Ciotat (Marseilles): dental imaging.
Why buy from Acteon
By the turn of the century Acteon was ready for international expansion. And the rate of growth was significant. In the last seven years, Acteon has gone from a national company to an international concern with 80% of its sales on foreign soil. Indeed, turnover has rise from EUR45 million in the year 2000 to EUR145 million in 2015. To steer and manage this growth, the company has turned to established captain of industry Marie-Laure Pochon. She has rejuvenated the manufacturing processes and focussed on marketing. Having come from bluechip companies like Schwarz Pharma, Pfizer and Merck, Marie-Laure knows that the exciting products within the current Acteon portfolio need to be put in front of all dentists, so they can experience the diagnostic benefits.
This year Acteon launched Expazen, X-Mind Trium (an exciting 3D digital X-ray,) the Newtron scaler utilising unique piezo ultrasonic scaling and PSPix – an incredibly small X-ray phospher plate scanner, as much as three times smaller than other imaging plate scanners. These and several other innovations need introduced and demonstrated to dentists in the UK and all over the world, so they can have access to these diagnostic benefits and time saving features.
Derek Hampton, UK managing director of Acteon said: ‘For years Acteon has produced innovations that can really improve the life of the dentist. But we have not raved about them as much as we should have. Now we have wider range of products led by a 3D X-ray (X-Mind Trium), an attractive and fast image scanner (PSPix2) and a state-of-the-art piezo ultrasonic scaler.’ He went on: ‘These products have been very well received and we want to ensure we support our customers in every way possible. So we have expanded almost all parts of the business to censure we achieve this.’
In developing products, Acteon works with universities and dentists – listening to feedback and implementing the right decision to create high tech solutions to improve the working life and diagnostic capabilities of the dentist.
Acteon has use this process to develop a powerful portfolio of exciting new products of real benefit to dental professionals.
In developing sales and product support, Acteon has beefed up its field sales support team in the UK.
Acteon is relocating to bigger offices in recent times and recruited additional administrative personnel to maintain its high standard of customer care. This heavy investment has been essential to provide the UK dental profession with outstanding support to match the outstanding new portfolio of products.