Over the past 50 years technology has developed at a fast pace. Looking back just 10-20 years, we couldn’t have imagined what we can do today with our mobile phones, among other things.
In the dental industry, we have also seen a development – from very simple dental units, to cart-based electrical units with drill, water and air capabilities, to the fully programmable units of today.
This review of XO CARE’s history through 3 generations shows just how much dental technology has changed.
From Verner Sørensen’s small service workshop and the first truly ergonomic unit concept, to the first computer chip in a dental unit and the invention of instrument programs, with numerous international patents along the way, before finally coming to the Danish Design prize and the newest XO FLEX unit, this is the story of XO CARE – the story of innovation.
VERNER SØRENSEN (1951)
Verner Sørensen was an educated electro-mechanic and began developing small motors and compressors from an early age. To start his first company, he borrowed 1000DKK from his mother and worked in her garage.
His story with dental units began when he started repairing DC-driven dental motors for a company called D-34. After one year he acquired the Technical Service department from D-34 and called it D-34 Værksted.
VS BOX UNIT (1969)
Verner was highly quality minded and wanted to provide maximum reliability. Machines that he built were meant to last forever. He started to build the VS Box units – cart-type units based on an American design. Quality, reliability, easy to service was his motto.
FLEX 1 UNIT AND FLEX DENTAL A/S (1971)
In the early 1970s public dentistry schools started opening in Denmark and many new dental practices were built – it was a dental boom.
In response to market need Verner Sørensen started building new units – called FLEX 1.
The FLEX 1 unit was the most reliable and service-friendly unit on the market. It was designed for both left- and right-handed dentists and included ‘LAY-OFF’ holders for 3 instruments.
To manufacture these new units, he started a new company: FLEX DENTAL Production A/S.
FLEX 2 UNIT (1972)
FLEX 2 units were the first truly ergonomic units, inspired by the research of Danish and Norwegian dentists and designed together with the engineer Flemming Hansen.
FLEX 2 units were first developed as a floor mounted solution – and were later sold with FinnDent chair. The units featured balanced suspended instruments that could be mounted in any desired order, and suction hoses with automatic-stop function.
They were sold mostly in Norway and Denmark and had enormous success – almost 60% market share.
KIM SØRENSEN (1977)
Following the path of his father, but bringing the spirit of the times, Kim Sørensen studied electrical engineering.
From Kim’s first day in the company he decided to introduce new technologies into the units, which at the time were very simple.
FLEX CC UNIT (1979)
In 1978 Kim started studying the daily work routines of his private dentist, Ernst Jensen. He realized that the workflow of a dentist at that point was very complicated and unstructured, with many buttons and switches. The core element of the new unit was a new type of user interface – based on foot pedal control of all the unit’s functions and allowing for hands-free work. It was possible because of the inclusion of a microprocessor – the first in any dental unit!
With FLEX CC the auto chip blower was also patented – an automatic and efficient chip blower that cleans and dries the work area.
In 1980 Flex CC received the ID Design prize and was a major success for the company, with more than 1000 units sold per year!
FLEX INTEGRAL (1989)
When Flex Integral was introduced – the production of Flex CC unit was paused from day 1 – a risky but very bold move.
Designed as a smart unit, it featured all the newest technologies. It was a streamline design that had its own chair, lamp and cabinet solution, along with quick coupling of instruments and a flow-meter that controlled the amount of water in the unit.
Initially, it was produced in versions FC (foot control), BC (basic control). The last Flex Integral left the XO factory in 2004.
FLEX INTEGRAL NTC (1995)
With the revolutionary NTC (no touch control) system all unit functions could be controlled via foot control and a screen. It was a predecessor to the more advanced XO Smart Link system. FLEX A/S was the first company in the world to introduce and patent the instrument programs.
XO CARE A/S (2001)
Upon the 50th anniversary of the company its name was changed to XO CARE – XO stemming from the word eXtraOrdinary.
XO 4 UNIT (2004)
With the introduction of XO 4, XO CARE wanted to offer a complete working solution.
It was the manifestation of the company’s philosophy: EXTRAORDINARY DENTISTRY.
The consistent and unique design was the result of a collaboration between XO CARE and Jacob Jensen Design. It shows a consideration for all aspects of dental needs – from the dentist’s work position to hygiene issues and the patient’s comfort level.
XO 4 was awarded the Danish Design Prize in 2007.
XO SMART LINK + NITISAFE (2009)
XO SMART LINK – a patented dental software introduced together with the XO 4 unit that allowed the dentist to define all functions of the unit, instruments, patient chair, light and more using only the foot control.
NitTiSafe was the first endo system in the world that allowed the dentist to use only one file for the entire procedure.
PETER SØRENSEN (2010)
When Peter was still a student, he took his father Kim’s vision and developed the XO Smart Link system.
Some years later, after he’d finished his PhD, he joined the company as the head of the R&D department.
XO FLEX UNIT (2017)
In tune with the legendary Flex unit concept, XO CARE has introduced the XO FLEX – a unit based on more than 65 years of experience, continuous product development and endless refinement of detail. The aim – to give the dentist complete flexibility to perform high-quality dental treatments.
XO FLOW (2021)
In 2021 XO CARE launched the first truly digital dental unit on the market: XO FLOW. This innovative unit was a game-changer in the industry with its many novel features not seen in dentistry before.
The digital XO FLOW unit has a built-in computer, network connection, workflow guidance, dental apps, and seamless integration with other digital devices like intraoral scanners. It received two Red Dot design awards in the categories “Innovative Products” and “Medical Devices and Technology”.