Product Design for Mikrona CELAY Dental Grinding Machine

For decades, mercury amalgam had been the sole filling material for caries damage to teeth, until concerns were increasingly raised regarding its ecological, health and aesthetic impact.


Intensive research began on the development of an alternative material, for a long time unsuccessfully. A breakthrough was finally achieved when the CELAY system, developed by the company Mikrona Technologie AG, a dental ceramics process previously only carried out in the laboratory, was integrated into the dentist’s surgery. CELAY functions in a similar way as contour milling, however far more precisely. A tooth impression made of plastic serves as a pattern. By means of scanning, a duplicate is developed out of a fully-ceramic blank within approximately 10 minutes, and can be applied immediately. For patients, CELAY offers enormous progress, in terms of quality an optimal treatment result in just one session, without annoying temporary replacements.

For the person carrying out the treatment, this involved adapting to a new working method.It was only possible for CELAY to be successful when the learning effort could be kept low. In addition, the device had to be compact, quiet and clean, and, moreover, mobile and sleek, thereby fitting in harmoniously with modern surgery environments. In short, the ideal challenge for the designers at the Meyer-Hayoz Design Engineering Group.

The successful market introduction of the CELAY in 1992 was based on the hitherto unequalled small gap of the created inlays. Even with the ensuing advent of digital technology, almost nothing has changed in terms of the product’s competitive edge; further optimisation of digital workflow and operating comfort finally led to the breakthrough for the new 3D CAD-based system.

In 1993 our work for the Mikrona CELAY device was honoured with the ≤award for the highest design quality «THE BEST OF THE BEST», by the Design Zentrum in Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany (corresponds to today‘s Red Dot Design Award Product Design, «Best of the Best»).