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Articles from MARKETING (104 Articles), CAD / CAM SERVICES (62 Articles), CAD / CAM EQUIPMENT (51 Articles)

The new Asiga, distributed by RPS.
The new Asiga, distributed by RPS.
 









 

High tech on show at jewellery fair

The upcoming Sydney Jewellery Fair will play host to a raft of exhibitors showcasing exciting technology solutions, from evolutions in production machinery to digital marketing developments.

Computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology has led an often-controversial revolution in the jewellery industry. Many jewellers have embraced the production and accuracy capacities offered by new software technology, while some traditionalists have avoided it, claiming it detracts from the individuality of jewellery.

However, as advances in technology continue, an increasing array will be launched into the jewellery industry and this year visitors to the JAA International Jewellery Fair will see some of the new design and production machines that aim to continue a technological revolution in the jewellery industry.

After being prophesied about for decades, three-dimensional printers are now a reality. Several Australian companies have acquired licenses for new CAD/CAM technology that will be launched at the Sydney Fair.

Rapid Prototyping Services (RPS) has an entry-level solution with the new ‘Pico’ 3D printer, created by Californian company Asiga.  

“It’s based on a new patented fabrication process,” RPS director Justin Elsey told Jeweller. “This is the first printer of its kind to offer a CAD/CAM system for jewellers under $7,500. Until now, most jewellery CAD/CAM systems have cost 10 times that amount.”

Elsey said the Asiga also has no consumable hardware parts, and is “zero maintenance” because it uses a long lasting LED. He said he believed the price point, size, and ease of use made the Pico a product likely to be popular with smaller manufacturing jewellers.

“The issue with printers, because of the high investment cost, is they lock a lot of people out,” he explained. “It’s not cost effective to have a $50,000 machine to make jewellery when you might only make a few pieces a week. With a lower cost system that can make production quality patterns, it’s feasible for the every man to access it. Jewellers can have their designs digitally stored, then print them out, cast it, and in a few days they’ll be restocked.”

Peter W Beck is launching a new trade website.
Peter W Beck is launching a new trade website.

Prices have been falling on CAD/CAM technology across the board. Greenwax recently became the distributor for German 3D printer manufacturer EnvisionTEC, and also has a new entry-level product. The lightweight ‘Perfactory Micro’ will make its debut at the fair, and Greenwax director Bruce Law was confident he was offering a reliable product.

“EnvisionTEC has the biggest market share in the jewellery industry for 3D printers,” Law said. “It’s very mature, it has been doing this for more than 10 years. I’ve used the bigger machines myself, we are used to the machines, we’ve tried it on other brands, and [we believe] it’s by far the most reliable offering in terms of follow up maintenance.”

Law said CAD/CAM technology prices had dropped considerably compared to five years ago, but believed prices would stabilise.

“The machines may get a bit smaller, but not much smaller because they can only be so small, just like a desktop printer can’t get much smaller,” he said. “Plus if you look back, the other machines were about 50 grand for the last four or five years and have only just come down. You can get cheaper 3D printers than this right now, but they are not suitable for jewellers, the finish is too rough.”

Meanwhile, as previously reported in Jeweller, Australian company Chemgold was recently appointed to be the national distributor for new stereo lithography technology created by Italian manufacturer DigitalWax Systems.

Chemgold will launch the new laser systems, which boast of having the best surface finish on the market, at the fair.

Technological advancements in the jewellery industry aren’t confined to machinery, however. Many suppliers are taking advantage of developments in digital marketing.

Greenwax will distribute EnvisionTEC's products.
Greenwax will distribute EnvisionTEC's products.

O’Neils Affiliated plans to garner attention at the fair by displaying an interactive catalogue that uses QR codes.

“Every type of gemstone in the catalogue has a corresponding QR code that can be scanned by any smart phone to bring up a sequence of images, descriptions and price details of extra stock,” he explained. “This means that customers will have access to up-to-date stock at all times. There are more than 100 QR codes in the catalogue.”

McCreesh said O’Neils planned to develop the cataloguing idea into a full-featured app in the near future and would demonstrate how it works with iPads and iPhones at the fair.  

Leading supplier, Peter W Beck will also have smart phones, tablets, and computers on hand to in order to demonstrate its new trade-focussed website. The new site is accessible and optimised for major internet browsing devices, and provides retailers with a quick way of quoting best selling Peter W Beck products as well as viewing past quotes and orders.

“Our new trade site will be a wonderful tool for retailers regardless of how they want to use it,” Laura Sawade, marketing manager, Peter W Beck said. “It has settings to be consumer friendly to use on the shop floor, but is also a wonderful tool when placing stock orders at the end of the night. There are so many ways of using it, it’s just a matter of what works for each individual customer.”

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