Jewellery Technology & Machinery - JTM
3D Technology Printing Changing Dynamics in Jewellery Manufacturing

3D printing Technology has indeed revolutionised the very essence of jewellery making. The strenuous and time consuming process involved in jewellery manufacturing has transformed into a more efficient and quality centric activity, thanks to the advent of 3D printing technology adapted by the Gems and Jewellery industry. In Early days to manufacture a custom made jewellery piece, the skilled craftsman would have to go through a lot of time to build each piece and sometimes would have had to painstakingly sculpt the parts in wax by hand. Gone are those days when small volumes of jewellery pieces used to consume unimaginable Man hours and Time as Unavailability of technology was indeed made good with talent and artistry of craftsmen who for ages and through generations have been mastering the art of jewellery making.

With the advent of Technology and advanced machine tools, Jewellery making has taken a formidable pace to churn out high quality and exquisite jewellery pieces with outstanding speed and Limited interference of Manpower. It is now possible to produce high quality jewellery and export the same to any part of the world, thus shrinking time and enhancing business, all thanks to 3D printing Technology. Manufacturers can now depend on Computer Aided Design [CAD] to get to a three dimensional prototype of a jewellery piece thus creating a thermoplastic wax mould through the 3D printer, into which the metal is then poured in liquid form. A process that used to take several weeks is now made possible in just days, and not to mention the time and money saved in the bargain. 3D printing Technology has immensely helped in improving the turnaround time that has been immensely beneficial not only for domestic consumption, but also jewellery exports.

One of the major benefits of this technology to the industry can be attributed or related to holding physical inventory way ahead of production initiation. The financial risks as well as security aspects had added to the holding of physical metal. Now with 3D technology any manufacturer or even retailer can now show catalogues of potential pieces of jewellery and display the varieties or designs on a virtual 3D presentation on screen which helps the customer to decide on the final product that he wants to order. The imaging helps the potential clients / customers decide on the order. This also helps the respective manufacturer or retailer provide a competitive costing related to the order.

In the end, consumers can look forward to unending online choices and tailor made choices with reduced prices and final products shipped to the customers office all with the help of 3-D printing and computer-aided manufacturing.

ITRI Presents First Indigenous 3D Metal Printer with Eye - Catching Golden Ornaments "Printed”

ITRI presents the first indigenous 3D metal printer and printing materials. Cooperating with Tainan City Jewelers' Association and integrating the talent of domestic designers, over 50 pieces of cultural creative gold crafts made by 3D printing technology have been introduced by ITRI. In comparison with its imported foreign counterpart, ITRI's 3D metal printer can significantly reduce cost by 50 percent, and will be provided to the domestic industry to develop and trial-produce a variety of gold ornaments and work pieces. Tongtai Machine & Tool Co., S-Tec Corp. and Chia Yi Steel Corp. are expected to work with ITRI to produce 3D metal printer and printing materials, prompting the development of 3D printing industry of Taiwan. Jon S. Hsu, Executive Director of ITRI Southern Region Campus, indicates that nowadays the raw materials used in 3D printing have been expanded from plastic to metal, so that its industrial application is not restricted to the manufacturing of prototypes. It now has entered the realm of directly producing goods and components with complete functions. The 3D metal printing can be used in industry sectors as diverse as aerospace, automotive, medical, mould, jewellery and other consumer goods.

Models display jewelries made by ITRI’s 3D metal printer [pic 1]

With the metal powder melted by laser and stacked into shape layer by layer, the 3D metal printer developed by ITRI can manufacture 10 cm3 and 25 cm3 work pieces, achieving precision of 50 μm (equal to the radius of a human hair), and a density of about 99%. Its products made of titanium alloy powder have a tensile strength of 950 Mpa and above, which has reached the level of medical instruments, making it qualified to produce complex-structured golden ornaments, metallic moulds, medical instruments, and components.

In recent years, with the 3D metal printing technique, ITRI has assisted the domestic manufacturers in developing LED lighting fixtures, optical lenses, moulds of automobile parts, surgical instruments, and surgical guides. ITRI has also collaborated with medical centers to work on bone nails with bio mimetic structure, which are now in the stage of animal experiment. Taiwan’s first 3D metal printer developed by ITRI can make metal work pieces in 10 and 25 cubic centimetres.

The gold ornaments made by ITRI’s 3D metal printer has caught everybody’s eyes

In this presentation, through 3D formatting, and slicing parameter design, the 3D printer of ITRI directly realizes the designers' ingenuity illustrated in their 2D or 3D design drawings. Then after polishing, grinding, plating and other post-treatments, a golden ornament which is as beautiful as the one manufactured by handiwork or RP lost-wax casting process is presented. It can cut two to seven manufacturing processes, allowing precise evaluation of material cost. It only takes a half day from receiving an order to printing the product, which is especially suitable for the Internet marketing stressing customization and in-time inventory.

Currently ITRI has launched the 3D metal printer whose product dimension is within 10 centimetres. Meanwhile it has also produced the associated metallic powders like titanium alloy, aluminium alloy, and mould steel. These crucial technologies will be eventually transferred to domestic manufacturers which can consequently establish an integrated production platform with a price tag of less than NT$10 million. With this platform, Taiwan’s manufacturers can provide key materials, equipment techniques and trial production service. In comparison with the foreign 3D metal printer worth NT$20 million to NT$30 million, this indigenous system can make Taiwan’s industry seize the business opportunity of 3D metal printing. For more information log on to: www.itri.org.tw

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