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Articles from CAD / CAM SERVICES (60 Articles), CAD / CAM EQUIPMENT (50 Articles)











Could digitised manufacturing reignite the industry as a new wave of tech savvy customers look for bespoke design? Consumers have changed, shopping has changed, the world has changed, the question is: are you changing?
Could digitised manufacturing reignite the industry as a new wave of tech savvy customers look for bespoke design? Consumers have changed, shopping has changed, the world has changed, the question is: are you changing?

CAD/CAM’s movers & shakers

Rather than being seen as a threat to the trade, many jewellers have embraced CAD/CAM and are reaping the rewards. Coleby Nicholson spoke to those on the coalface.
Janie Simpson
Janie Simpson
LST Design
LST Design
Jean Thereze Steenkamp
Jean Thereze Steenkamp
Martin Linning
Martin Linning

There is no doubt the internet has changed almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives. The improvements to large-scale manufacturing from advanced technology are also apparent, but only now are we starting to see the impact on small-scale production. 

Some go as far to say that the world has entered the third industrial revolution. It’s an interesting claim, but how does that affect the jewellery industry? It might best be explained by the Economist, which recently reported, “The digitisation of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made – and change the politics of jobs too.” 

If correct, that’s good news for jewellers because it could go a long way to showing consumers that high quality, custom-made jewellery need not cost an arm and a leg. 

Welcome to the CAD/CAM revolution!

As CEO of Australian Bullion Company, Janie Simpson says there have been vast improvements in her business since first adopting CAD/CAM three to four years ago. 

“It’s an easier sales process. What it means is that the customer chooses the design and we then work closely with them and send the design to the CAD/CAM department. We then receive the CAD/CAM designs back via email, which we can email to our client for approval.

“The whole process is very transparent and open, and the client has greater involvement in the design and manufacture process,” Simpson explains. 

She says CAD/CAM makes the process more accurate the first time around compared to before the technology was used. Rather than purchasing software and hardware equipment, Simpson outsources all CAD/CAM work. 

“Before we began using Palloys, what we found was that when we sketched something or we took a design from a client’s picture it was open to interpretation. With CAD/CAM, what you see is what you actually get. When the final product comes out, we’re finding we’re engaging the clients more using CAD/CAM and getting a better result.”

Jean Thereze Steenkamp and her husband, Juan, operate a jewellery store in Auckland and they first dabbled with CAD/CAM in 2005, however, they say it was not with a jewellery-specific program. “It was tweaked with add-on programs for jewellery design and manufacturing (which came at extra expense) with constant costly upgrades and challenges,” Steenkamp explains. 

Having seen the benefits of CAD/CAM, they decided to take the next step and purchased a specialised jewellery CAD/CAM package. “We started with Jewelry Cad Dream in March 2014, and now, 120 designs later, we are comfortable to say that it truly was a very wise business investment.” Steenkamp says. 

She adds that proper use of CAD/CAM allows the business to be more competitive with pricing, provide the customer a better visual image rendered as a photo, and more importantly, allows the customer to make design changes before manufacturing expenses are incurred.

Marc Gregory is another early adopter of CAD/CAM but considers himself as having only become proficient in using the technology in the last few years. As a trained bench jeweller with 40 years’ experience, he sees many advantages – including greater design accuracy and less material wastage –and works closely with Facet RP.  

“A lot of our savings can be made in metal costs. There’s not as much wastage and you can probably save a good 50 per cent. The time has been cut in half as well, ” Gregory says. “You’ve still got to know what you’re doing, you’ve still got to put stuff together and you’re still going to sit down with customers, so that aspect of it is still there.”

Custom-made jewellery
Gregory’s store is in Hampton, a beachside suburb in Melbourne where he says, “There are always people who prefer handmade jewellery. But with CAD you still need to clean it up, solder it together and polish it, so it’s not a finished product. The jeweller still has to work on it but you still get the customers and there are still some things that we prefer to hand-make.”

Consumers who prefer custom-made jewellery usually do so because they have specific design and style preferences. For that reason, they are more likely to be fussy and demanding than, say, a consumer who visits a chain store to buy jewellery. While this can mean that more time must be spent with them, astute jewellers have long recognised that if the customer leaves the store delighted, they are likely to be a customer for life.

That’s especially the case in the engagement and wedding ring market. Martin Linning has been a jeweller for 23 years and won the CAD/CAM category at the 2012 Design Awards for retail store Jewellery by Design. He believes the store has successfully captured the best of both worlds: combining traditional jewellery retailing with CAD/CAM to enhance not only the design and manufacture of the store’s products but also its customer relations. 

Linning says the CAD/CAM process is part of engaging the customer from start to finish; it’s utilised to enhance the customer relationship with the jeweller rather than making the process all about technology. 

“What differentiates our store is that we have three jewellers and an apprentice actually in a retail store, in a shopping centre, and the [customer] consultations happen with the jewellers. So we actually do the designs with the customer, and the thing that is setting us apart more, ironically, is the person-to-person contact rather than the computer design, which
happens in the background,” Linning explains.

The Townsville store has become known for its engagement and wedding rings. Having dabbled with a few programs he has now settled on Matrix, while using Rapid Prototyping for all printing and casting. 

Another jeweller who has greatly improved his production turnaround with CAD/CAM is James Ballas, who first trained as a jeweller 30 years ago. He opened his Bankstown store in 1985 and also agrees that when used properly, the technology can help increase customer satisfaction.

He explains his introduction to the new technology: “I’m a traditional jeweller – I love handmade jewellery. I do a lot of carving and so the only obstacle I really saw, other than my passion dying, was probably my eyesight fading, so I started researching CAD. I’d heard of it at the time and like most jewellers, was scared of it. I thought, ‘No, it won’t work,’ but after looking at all the imported stuff coming in, it was all this really intricate light stuff and I realised it was done with CAD.”

Ballas implemented 3Design software around 2010 and says, “The turnaround time is absolutely unbelievable! The fact that you can send your client a realistic render is a dealmaker because it no longer leaves any doubt in the client’s mind of what the finished piece will be like. It has also improved my business on price point and it’s made me more competitive.”

He makes an interesting point. Many retail businesses, jewellers included, think that all a customer wants is the cheapest product. “Many jewellers think it’s based on price point but they’ve really got it wrong because there’s such a big market that wants quality and is prepared to pay for it. We all seem to attack the cheaper product because everybody feels by making it cheaper they’re being more competitive. They’re losing their margin and they’re actually destroying themselves, so CAD gives you that point of difference.”

Production efficiency has been one of the driving forces for manufacturing jeweller Michael Glendenning. 

“We first implemented CAD/CAM about four years ago. Before that I had been outsourcing it and I wasn’t happy with the results because most of the people handling the designs weren’t jewellers – they were just computer CAD guys,” he explains. “Within a couple of weeks I was making pieces at probably the same sort of speed as something that was handmade.

“However, within three months I was turning a 10-hour handmade job into maybe two hours plus a couple of hours on the bench to assemble it and put it all together. So within probably three to four months I started to see some serious benefits from it.”

Glendenning operates a family business in Hallam, Victoria, and he notes that adding CAD/CAM into a retail jewellery store is not necessarily an easy task. “There is a very solid learning curve for three to four months to learn the new technology.

Learning how to do the trade in a completely different way was pretty hard, but by the end of it, the benefits were there andwithin a few months, [we were] reducing our time and cost.”

Glendenning uses Matrix software and he explains that after six to seven months he was producing up to seven rings per week from beginning to end. He adds that the training and support by Evolution Jewellers has been instrumental in the success. However, he is another jeweller who does not allow the technology to override the business. It’s about adapting to the new consumer and the way they choose to shop. 

“We’re in a society where the end user, the consumer, wants something that’s custom-made, and they also like the technology and they want to be involved in it. Gone are the days of the potential groom going out and purchasing a ring and saying to his bride-to-be, ‘Here dear, this is what you’re getting’. 

“Those days are gone. Now a couple come in with their iPad or iPhone with images of 10 rings they like and have saved pictures of. They might say, ‘We like this, but we don’t like that’, so people want something that’s unique.”

While the way people shop may have changed and trends come and go, the customer’s desire for unique jewellery has not changed. Even though some jewellers do not embrace new technology, they should be happy that there’s still a place for the “old ways”, and CAD/CAM can be just another tool. 

Glendinning, a third generation jeweller, perhaps sums it up best: “My grandfather would be super happy if he saw what was going on today and he would think it was the best thing in the world.” 

Michael Glenndenning
Michael Glenndenning

There is no doubt the internet has changed almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives. The improvements to large-scale manufacturing from advanced technology are also apparent, but only now are we starting to see the impact on small-scale production. 

Some go as far to say that the world has entered the third industrial revolution. It’s an interesting claim, but how does that affect the jewellery industry? It might best be explained by the Economist, which recently reported, “The digitisation of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made – and change the politics of jobs too.” 

If correct, that’s good news for jewellers because it could go a long way to showing consumers that high quality, custom-made jewellery need not cost an arm and a leg. 

Welcome to the CAD/CAM revolution!

As CEO of Australian Bullion Company, Janie Simpson says there have been vast improvements in her business since first adopting CAD/CAM three to four years ago. 

“It’s an easier sales process. What it means is that the customer chooses the design and we then work closely with them and send the design to the CAD/CAM department. We then receive the CAD/CAM designs back via email, which we can email to our client for approval.

“The whole process is very transparent and open, and the client has greater involvement in the design and manufacture process,” Simpson explains. 

She says CAD/CAM makes the process more accurate the first time around compared to before the technology was used. Rather than purchasing software and hardware equipment, Simpson outsources all CAD/CAM work. 

“Before we began using Palloys, what we found was that when we sketched something or we took a design from a client’s picture it was open to interpretation. With CAD/CAM, what you see is what you actually get. When the final product comes out, we’re finding we’re engaging the clients more using CAD/CAM and getting a better result.”

Jean Thereze Steenkamp and her husband, Juan, operate a jewellery store in Auckland and they first dabbled with CAD/CAM in 2005, however, they say it was not with a jewellery-specific program. “It was tweaked with add-on programs for jewellery design and manufacturing (which came at extra expense) with constant costly upgrades and challenges,” Steenkamp explains. 

Having seen the benefits of CAD/CAM, they decided to take the next step and purchased a specialised jewellery CAD/CAM package. “We started with Jewelry Cad Dream in March 2014, and now, 120 designs later, we are comfortable to say that it truly was a very wise business investment.” Steenkamp says. 

She adds that proper use of CAD/CAM allows the business to be more competitive with pricing, provide the customer a better visual image rendered as a photo, and more importantly, allows the customer to make design changes before manufacturing expenses are incurred.

Marc Gregory is another early adopter of CAD/CAM but considers himself as having only become proficient in using the technology in the last few years. As a trained bench jeweller with 40 years’ experience, he sees many advantages – including greater design accuracy and less material wastage –and works closely with Facet RP.  

“A lot of our savings can be made in metal costs. There’s not as much wastage and you can probably save a good 50 per cent. The time has been cut in half as well, ” Gregory says. “You’ve still got to know what you’re doing, you’ve still got to put stuff together and you’re still going to sit down with customers, so that aspect of it is still there.”

Custom-made jewellery
Gregory’s store is in Hampton, a beachside suburb in Melbourne where he says, “There are always people who prefer handmade jewellery. But with CAD you still need to clean it up, solder it together and polish it, so it’s not a finished product. The jeweller still has to work on it but you still get the customers and there are still some things that we prefer to hand-make.”

Consumers who prefer custom-made jewellery usually do so because they have specific design and style preferences. For that reason, they are more likely to be fussy and demanding than, say, a consumer who visits a chain store to buy jewellery. While this can mean that more time must be spent with them, astute jewellers have long recognised that if the customer leaves the store delighted, they are likely to be a customer for life.

That’s especially the case in the engagement and wedding ring market. Martin Linning has been a jeweller for 23 years and won the CAD/CAM category at the 2012 Design Awards for retail store Jewellery by Design. He believes the store has successfully captured the best of both worlds: combining traditional jewellery retailing with CAD/CAM to enhance not only the design and manufacture of the store’s products but also its customer relations. 

Linning says the CAD/CAM process is part of engaging the customer from start to finish; it’s utilised to enhance the customer relationship with the jeweller rather than making the process all about technology. 

“What differentiates our store is that we have three jewellers and an apprentice actually in a retail store, in a shopping centre, and the [customer] consultations happen with the jewellers. So we actually do the designs with the customer, and the thing that is setting us apart more, ironically, is the person-to-person contact rather than the computer design, which
happens in the background,” Linning explains.

The Townsville store has become known for its engagement and wedding rings. Having dabbled with a few programs he has now settled on Matrix, while using Rapid Prototyping for all printing and casting. 

Another jeweller who has greatly improved his production turnaround with CAD/CAM is James Ballas, who first trained as a jeweller 30 years ago. He opened his Bankstown store in 1985 and also agrees that when used properly, the technology can help increase customer satisfaction.

He explains his introduction to the new technology: “I’m a traditional jeweller – I love handmade jewellery. I do a lot of carving and so the only obstacle I really saw, other than my passion dying, was probably my eyesight fading, so I started researching CAD. I’d heard of it at the time and like most jewellers, was scared of it. I thought, ‘No, it won’t work,’ but after looking at all the imported stuff coming in, it was all this really intricate light stuff and I realised it was done with CAD.”

Ballas implemented 3Design software around 2010 and says, “The turnaround time is absolutely unbelievable! The fact that you can send your client a realistic render is a dealmaker because it no longer leaves any doubt in the client’s mind of what the finished piece will be like. It has also improved my business on price point and it’s made me more competitive.”

He makes an interesting point. Many retail businesses, jewellers included, think that all a customer wants is the cheapest product. “Many jewellers think it’s based on price point but they’ve really got it wrong because there’s such a big market that wants quality and is prepared to pay for it. We all see










ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coleby Nicholson • Managing Editor

Managing Editor • Jeweller Magazine


Coleby Nicholson is publisher and managing editor of Jeweller magazine. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than a decade and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

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Monday, 19 August, 2019 08:16pm
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