Luther Gates, Staff Engineer, Handpieces
Luther Gates has been a Staff Engineer on our team for over 10 years, coming to us from the auto industry. He has been involved in the designs for electric and air-driven handpieces, both high-speed and low-speed. His engineering skills have been showcased in a number of products, some of which were so novel that they now have pending patents. His project management skills are no less impressive when compared to his engineering knowledge as he’s been tasked with overseeing some of the most complex projects in our lineup. He’s viewed as the engineering expert by his peers and is always willing to assist anyone within the organization when called upon.
What roles had you previously held (whether at DENTALEZ or another company) that either made it possible for you to enter your desired field or helped you learn specific things for your position today?
I’ve worked at a variety of companies in the automotive industry as a Mechanical Engineer before working at DENTALEZ. Each experience builds on the prior and you never know what will help you in the future. My current position draws upon my work designing gear boxes for the automotive industry in Detroit. The major difference now is that the parts are much smaller and tighter tolerance.
What do you like about working in the dental industry?
While many people don’t enjoy going to the dentist, they understand that there is a good reason to go. So, I like working in the dental industry as our tools and equipment serve a useful purpose and ultimately help people to improve their overall health. Our handpieces have focused on higher cutting power so the patient has less time “in the chair” at the dentist which creates less anxiety and ultimately results in them feeling better sooner.
What's your favorite aspect of your job?
I like the engineering challenges that are inherent with the dental handpiece product family. Trying to fit all the gears, bearings and tubes into a small dental handpiece is like building a ship in a bottle, except it must spin at 430,000 RPM, survive repeat autoclave cycles, and be easily manufactured and assembled.
What's your favorite DENTALEZ product and why?
I did a lot of the development work on the 430 Torque family of handpieces, and it is my favorite product. This was our first high-performance turbine, and it drastically increased our cutting torque while maintaining the same overall size and weight of the prior 430 SWL handpiece. We’ve since expanded upon what we learned with the Torque to develop the 500 AERAS Elite, but the 430 Torque is the bridge connecting the past to the future.