Heraeus Modern Materials

Dec. 8, 2011
Division has been a leader in the U.S. dental market for gypsum products for virtually its entire existence.

South Bend, INDIANA--The Modern Materials Division of Heraeus Kulzer, a leader in dental esthetics, is celebrating its 65th anniversary. The division has been a leader in the U.S. dental market for gypsum products for virtually its entire existence.

Modern Materials was founded in 1946 in St. Louis, Mo., by Don McNary and Jack Piper. McNary, a chemist, was “Mr. Inside” while Piper, a salesman, was “Mr. Outside.”

Early in the company’s history, McNary developed a formula for manufacturing gypsum. One of the keys to this formula was the company’s discovery of a source of calcium sulfate, gypsum’s primary component, in Oklahoma. A second key was the company’s tight control over the process by which the calcium sulfate is crushed, heated and dehydrated to form a fine, dry powder of consistency.

Yet another hallmark of Modern Materials’ approach was McNary’s pioneering development of special chemical formulas that allowed customers to achieve different setting times and create different colors.

McNary’s formulating was matched by Piper’s salesmanship.

According to sales executive Joe O’Weger, a 35-year veteran of the company: “The way Jack would demonstrate our product superiority to a prospective customer was simply mesmerizing. He was selling a promise, and he knew that our products would keep that promise and exceed the customer’s expectations.”

The tall, statesman-like Piper was known as one of nicest people in the business. “Jack was a terrific team-builder," O'Weger said. "He was a true gentleman and a class act, and his people would do anything for him and his company.”

Piper eventually purchased McNary’s share of the company, and in 1976, he sold the company to Columbia Dental Company. Columbia was later purchased by the Miles Laboratories Division of Bayer Corporation, which sold the company to Heraeus Kulzer in 1998.

Under Heraeus’ ownership, Modern Materials has continued the accuracy and reliability begun by McNary and Piper 65 years ago.

“When it comes to gypsum, quality assurance is everything,” said Lesley Melvin, Heraeus’ product manager for the Modern Materials Division. “Our customers need to know they can count on consistent accuracy from all of our products batch after batch, year after year. If the white sulfate isn’t completely pulverized or the chemicals aren’t mixed perfectly, our customer could be forced to do a remake. And that’s something we simply won’t allow to happen to our customers.”

Bob Peters, owner of Adena Dental Lab in Chillicothe, Ohio, has been one of those customers since 1984. When asked why he has stayed loyal to Modern Materials for 27 years, he said, “It’s their consistent quality. I know exactly what I’m getting each time, and I know I won’t have to worry the next time.”

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Peters also gives the company high marks for its customer service.

“My Modern Materials representative has to be the best in the business. If ever there’s an issue of any kind, he and the company follow through immediately,” he said. “They don’t drop the ball.”

The Modern Materials Division comprises several market-leading gypsum brands. Its leading products for the laboratory market include Labstone, an all-purpose type III model stone for articulating, flasking, and master models; Die-Keen, a type V die material; and Lab Plaster, a type II plaster.

For the dental practice market, Modern Materials’ offering includes Dentstone, a type III gypsum formulated for processing full or partial acrylic dentures and counter models, and StatStone, a gypsum product specially formulated for when speed and precision are needed when fabricating bleaching trays, temporaries, custom trays, and splints.

For more informatio, call (800) 431-1785 or visit www.heraeusdentalusa.com.

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