Rainer Zoppke: A dental technician for dental technicians.

From Herne in Germany around the world: Rainer Zoppke has seen many places throughout his career. He started as a dental technician and found his way into the dental industry through his studies in business administration. He describes his career as logical: At an early stage he held lectures and moderated courses, which helped him discover his talent for selling. He was always interested in technical innovation in the dental industry and his experiences as a user as well as from his time in product development mean that he knows the dental market inside out.

In this interview he talks about his challenges at Renfert and describes his view of dental laboratory technology today and tomorrow.

Mr. Zoppke, as Sales Manager and Director at Wieland, Kerr or SDI you have worked across the world. What excites you about your challenge at Renfert?

The move from a multinational corporation to a traditional German SME was well planned. The fact that an owner led company like Renfert has short decision making processes makes it very flexible and able to react quickly to changes in the market, this is very appealing to me. My experiences from the global dental market can help build up new structures at Renfert: An example could be to increase the expertise of our service and sales teams, as well as that of our dealers, in order to not only transfer product knowledge but also process understanding. On the one hand I see the opportunity to work even closer with our dealers in our core markets to service our customers even better, and on the other hand I see a huge potential in new markets such as Brazil or the Far East. Here it will be important to have a local presence in order to support the end user, with trainings for example.

What direction are we moving in, what path do you want to take with Renfert?

During the next years many challenges lie ahead. Renfert already has a very wide product portfolio in the dental value chain, and it is this potential that I want to exploit even further. I want to help Renfert carry its philosophy „making work easy“ to the market. Here we are not only talking about single products, but about the complete set of interrelated dental workflows. Currently we do not cover all areas of analog and digital dental technology, but our products are connected with nearly all of these workflows. For our customers this means that Renfert will employ all of its energy to ensure that the proven dental workflows become even easier and more innovative. A great example for this is our new SILENT compactCAM extraction unit, with which we achieve exactly this type of process innovation within a digital workflow.

You talk about digital dental technology. What trends do you see in this space?

At Renfert we see the increasing importance of digital production, in particular in semi-finished production workflows and we believe there will be many more fully anatomical, digital solutions. However, when it comes to the finishing there is no way past manual work in order to create the level of aesthetics demanded and to differentiate the dental work done. Renfert also plays an important role here: For example, when I think about our lay:art mixing trays and brushes that are a great tools to create a high value, aesthetic dental prosthesis from a piece of ceramic.

Even in a digital age, I still believe in the fact that best quality comes from the passion in the dental work that is done, and that is why only individual handmade restorations are at the high end of quality dental prosthesis.

So, no revolution in dental laboratory technology?

No, classic workflows will not disappear overnight. The dental world is changing, but it will not be completely reinvented. After all analog dental processes still outweigh digital processes by 70% to 30%.

What would be your advice for dental technicians looking into new trends and developments?

The past years have shown that new trends should not be blindly followed. In my opinion each dental technician needs to decide for himself if such an investment makes sense and if it makes a difference to the daily work done for his customers. Because of the rapid development of digital processes, it may be wise to take more time when analyzing one’s own needs. As dental technicians in a digital world, we need to rely on the virtues of our profession and still be open for new innovation in order to get the best result from a mix of analog and digital processes.

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From Herne in Germany around the world: Rainer Zoppke has seen many places throughout his career. He started as a dental technician and found his way into the ...

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