As A-dec celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, it's fitting to recap some of the company's achievements over that time. In particular, the first decade of operations were pivotal. During that time, the fledgling business was instrumental in redefining the clinical delivery of dentistry globally and together with many other achievements during that time, cemented the foundations for what is today the global leader in dental unit production.
It all started humbly a half-century ago however. While on a picnic, a barely-employed engineer, Ken Austin, mentioned to his wife, Joan, as you do, how air-vacuum technology could be used to create a simpler and more compact oral evacuator device.
Evacuators of the day were clumsy, constructed with pieced-together components and couldn't provide enough suction for the high-speed drills in use at the time.
Seeing the opportunity, Joan was immediately intrigued by Ken's idea. She encouraged him. "Why wait?" she said. "We'll eat bread and beans if we have to."
By the next day, Ken was machining a model for his oral evacuator prototype. In Ken's mind, his air-vacuum system (AVS) would be more reliable and less expensive than what was currently available. And it was.
1964 Within months, the country's largest dental manufacturing company, S.S. White, agreed to distribute the "AVS #1" from newly formed Austin Dental Equipment Company or - as Joan would have it - A-dec®.
1969 Five years later, A-dec founder Ken Austin's inventions continued to establish what is known today as "sit-down dentistry" (Believe it or not, up until then, dentists performed all treatment standing up!). That year, A-dec introduced a chair-mounted dental unit. The unit positioned instrumentation within comfortable reach of a seated dentist and included a flex-arm, automatic handpiece controls and vacuum instrumentation.
1971 In the early seventies, A-dec co-designed the first integrated dental cabinet unit and manufactured the wall-mounted control system for it. Today, A-dec Preference® cabinetry is the leading choice of dentists in the USA and is also gaining popularity in Australia in both public and private dental clinics.
1973 In an industry first in 1973, A-dec "Century" dental units provided individual water flows to handpieces!
All of these innovations and the many that followed, were to change dentistry forever - and importantly, for the better. A far cry from dentists standing over seated patients and suffering lost productivity and workplace ailments as a result.
A-dec continues to pioneer innovative, creative solutions for the betterment of dentistry by listening to, understanding and responding to customer needs. As A-dec co-founder Joan Austin liked to say: "Listening and watching are so much more important than talking".
Joan's words help explain the philosophy behind A-dec product development and the emphasis placed on understanding the world of dentistry in order to improve it.
This understanding is a result of listening to dentists and dental educators for the past 50 years. Thanks to that philosophy, many more exciting A-dec innovations are still to come, further improving the practice of dentistry the world over.