The European jewelry industry hesitates too long with using additive manufacturing technology. Europe could lose out to Asia in this battle. "The value of 3D printing is underestimated", said Martin Forth, MD of envisionTEC.
This year EuroMold sets the spotlight on the jewelry industry. This is a section that takes advantage of 3D printing, particularly in Asia. Rapid prototyping enables manufacturers to quickly produce either a scale or production-quality model of a part in very small numbers. In the worldwide it has become an industry with a turnover of more than US$100 billion per year. During the presentation of EuroMold 2012 Martin Forth spoke about the jewelry industry and 3D printing technology.
For the manufacturers of 3D printer this is a very attractive niche market. There are 50,000 3D printers installed worldwide, among which 4000 are used in the jewelry industry. Particularly in Asia, these companies are exactly organized as the automotive industry, according to Forth. "They are efficient and high-tech companies that invest in European technology. Ironically, we sell cheap printers more in Europe than in China. Chinese customers want the best quality with highest speed."
EnvisionTEC recently launched a new 3D printer, Perfactory Micro, the smallest personal desktop 3D system in its family using DLP technology (Direct Light Projection technology). It costs only 13,000 euros. A feature of DLP technology is that you can print with a high surface accuracy. It is suitable for making small volume but high quality standard parts for custom jewelers and designers. "The technology moves definitely towards the production," says Martin Forth.
Photos credit / Source: Made-in-Europe
Posted in Rapid Prototyping
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Bill D. wrote at 7/11/2012 10:57:01 PM:
Good article but here's a couple of clarifications: Yes, in the overall 3D printing numbers Jewelry is niche market. However, within the 4,000 current systems, a substantial percentage of them are based in Europe. It may also be of interest to your readers that of those 4,000 systems in use worldwide, Solidscape printers represent 3/4 of the market with over 3,000 units sold to the Jewelry industry. That includes many of the premier jewelry and watch brands. Also, the EuroMold 2012 show has not taken place yet. It is scheduled to start November 27th, 2012.