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

Looking ahead to 2020

It is not unreasonable to think that the uptake of advanced computer technology for jewellery design and manufacture would be slow; however, movements over the past few years seem to prove this is far from the case.

So much has changed in a relatively short time that the use of technology today is almost unavoidable and the jewellery industry almost unrecognisable.  One can only wonder what the future holds, and with that in mind, we’ve asked our CAD/CAM experts to predict how technology will change the industry by 2020, just four years away.

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What the experts say

Larry Sher, CHEMGOLD

"By 2020, we predict CAD/CAM will most likely double or triple in growth as the quality and speed improve. The majority of retailers and workshops will have a CAD element to their business, whether they own the software or partner with a company that supports them with CAD or a catalogue of designs. A major area and advancement to watch is selective laser melting, which is printing directly in precious metal. Currently, surface finish has a long way to go and the costs of running the machines are not economically viable for the Australian market but I predict that will change sometime soon."

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"I don’t think it will be as early as 2020 but 3D printing into metal will continue to advance and will eventually be readily available and cost-effective. Inexpensive 3D printers will become commonplace; they will be mandatory equipment for all jewellers and be used for printing samples for customers."

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"We will see the dawn of an era of intelligent, tech-savvy yet still traditional jewellers who have perfected the marriage of technology and traditional techniques. These jewellers will have a deep appreciation for the manufacture of jewellery and will want to give their customers the experience they are seeking: pure customisation. This new breed of jeweller will be on-trend, technically proficient and may have a number of traditional specialties up their sleeves, but above all, they will be willing to share information and will understand that education is the key to success."

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"I predict that selective laser sintering (SLS) technology for precious metals will be readily available in the jewellery industry. This technology already exists and is being used in aluminium and a few other base metals, but I believe that SLS is going to replace printing and casting – if not by 2020 then certainly close to that time. Basically, jewellers will be able to side-step the entire casting process and reduce turnaround times even further."

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"I think the main area for growth is with 3D printing. We are seeing a push towards faster print speeds. There is also a tremendous amount of effort going into developing new resins. Today we can print at 20-micron resolution (1,000 microns = 1 mm) so 10-micron printing must be on the way in the next few years. Resins for casting are improving and there is more choice. There was a lot of hype in recent years about direct metal printing but the quality was way too poor for jewellery production. I guess that will be an area that will improve but I think it will still be some time before we begin to see any affordable desktop solutions for jewellers."

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"A typical jeweller’s workbench will consist of a CAD software solution, a desktop 3D printer and a desktop casting unit. With this total in-house infrastructure, jewellers will regain their independence and reliance on expensive casting houses and outsourcing will be a thing of the past."

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"There are no real limits to what might be achieved with CAD/CAM in the future. We have to understand that, as reliable and incredible as the technology is today, we are really at the same point in history when we were moving away from steam-powered vehicles and arriving at the Model-T Ford automobile. That’s where we’re at now with 3D printing. Within the scope of jewellery production, it is probable there will be commercially viable, high-resolution, direct-to-precious-metal 3D printers by 2020."

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"As the technology develops so quickly, it would be foolhardy to attempt to make an accurate, time-specific prediction but there is no doubt the ability to directly print alloys will be groundbreaking."

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CAD/CAM supplement - More reading
Part 1: Designing a better future
Part 2: CAD design demystified
Part 3: CAD’s end-game is the jewellery consumer

DOWNLOAD NOW: 24-page PDF CAD/CAM supplement 
A comprehensive analysis from all aspects of the jewellery industry


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Friday, 13 December, 2019 02:31pm
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